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Report 6 October 2019

Renewable heat in Scotland, 2018

Location notice

Please note that this page contains information and links most relevant for people living in Scotland.


A new report has since been published in this series – please see the 2020 report for the most up to date information. The latest Renewable Heat in Scotland report for 2020 includes a correction to reduce the estimated large biomass output and total output for 2018.

As a result, the figures in this publication are no longer applicable and should not be used. Historical reports remain available online to show changes to the methodology over the duration of the reporting series.

Much of the data used for the Renewable Heat in Scotland report is reviewed and updated on an annual basis, therefore improvements to the historical published figures will only be found in the latest report. These improvements may be due to access to new or improved datasets, changes to the methodology or corrections.


The Scottish Government has set a target for 11% of non-electrical heat demand in Scotland to be met from renewable sources by 2020.

In order to help measure progress towards this target Energy Saving Trust maintains a database of renewable heat installations (referred to as the Renewable Heat Database or dataset throughout this report) on behalf of the Scottish Government. The database records installations known to be operating and those currently in various stages of development. It contains data on the capacity and yearly heat output of those installations and is updated annually.

The database has now been updated with new information on heat generated from renewable sources during the 2018 calendar year.

As well as tracking progress towards the Scottish Government’s renewable heat target this report also provides commentary on accreditations under the domestic and non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) schemes between December 2018 and July 2019, as an indicator of the growth in renewable heat into the next reporting year.

For any questions or comments relating to the Renewable Heat Database or accompanying analysis and report please contact

Summary of key findings

We estimate that:

  • in 2018, Scotland generated an estimated 6.3% of its non-electrical heat demand from renewable sources, an increase from 5.5% in 2017
  • 2.01 GW of renewable heat capacity was operational in Scotland by the end of 2018, up 4% (0.07 GW) from 2017, producing an estimated 5,230 GWh of useful heat output from renewable sources, which is an increase of 14% (661 GWh) from 2017
  • the increase in output seen in 2018, compared to 2017, is largely due to newly operational biomass and energy from waste sites as well as an increased heat output from over half of the existing biomass sites


A separate appendix file has been prepared to accompany this report. Only the 2018 appendices are applicable to this report because many of the calculations, sources and assumptions used in the analysis are reviewed and updated on an annual basis.

Last updated: 11 November 2021