Skip to main content
Report 28 October 2020

Renewable heat in Scotland, 2019

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 and 2019.

As a result, the figures in this publication are no longer applicable and should not be used.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 2019 calendar year.

Other sources of information are used alongside the Renewable Heat Database to complete the understanding of renewable heat in Scotland, including:

  • data provided by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) covering accreditations under the non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme and Combined Heat and Power Quality Assurance (CHPQA) programme
  • a data extract of accreditations under the microgeneration certification scheme provided by MCS

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 RHI schemes between December 2019 and June 2020, 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 2019, useful renewable heat generated in Scotland was equivalent to 6.5% of the fuel consumed for non-electrical heat demand, an increase from 6.2% in 2018 and from 0.9% in 2008
  • an estimated 5,205 GWh of useful heat output was generated by renewable technologies in 2019, an increase from 4,966 GWh in 2018 and from 864 GWh in 2008-09
  • 2.03 GW of renewable heat capacity was operational in Scotland by the end of 2019, up from 2.00 GW in 2018 and from 0.24 GW in 2008-09
  • the reported heat output and capacity comes from 30,450 operational renewable energy installations, up from 27,720 in 2018
  • the energy content of the fuels consumed to meet Scotland’s non-electrical heat demand was 79,658 GWh in 2018, down from the 81,421 GWh consumed in 2017 and from the 92,986 GWh consumed in 2008
  • approximately 56% of the total reported heat output is accredited under the domestic and non-domestic RHI schemes


A separate appendix file has been prepared to accompany this report. Only the 2019 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