The Scottish Government has set a target for renewable energy sources to provide 11 per cent of Scotland’s heat demand by 2020. To help the government identify and assess renewable energy opportunities, we developed and piloted a GIS-based spatial planning tool or ‘heat map’, bringing together a range of spatial information on renewable heat opportunities; at the start of the project, it was estimated that renewable energy sources provided around 1.4 per cent of Scotland’s non-electrical heat demand.
Using a suite of analytical tools, such as a heat opportunity scenario development tool, the government can interrogate and analyse the map to view multiple GIS layers, which contain information on heat demand and potential heat supply; produce a range of detailed information including maps and statistics relating to existing demand and supply; and predict the impacts of different development scenarios, highlighting potential opportunities to implement renewable heat technologies.
Using the map, local authorities can also assess the impact of proposed renewable energy developments and use the information to inform the local development planning process. The ability to test different development scenarios is a key highlight of the heat map, distinguishing it from previous versions.
The outputs from this study were piloted in three local authorities. The methodology was then subsequently used to create a national heat map for Scotland.