The Scottish Government is being proactive in publishing plans for decarbonising heat in pursuit of a target of substantial reductions from this sector by 2030. There is much talk of district heating systems. If the district heating systems are to be supplied by renewable energy then perhaps the most practical way of doing this is through the heat networks being supplied by industrial scale heat pumps.
Renewable energy production from wind, solar, tidal etc needs to be expanded beyond the current size of the Government's 100 per cent electricity from renewables target to supply the decarbonised heat. It will be delivered by (probably water sourced) heat pumps which are an efficient way of using the renewable electricity.
The Scottish Government has already given £20 million in grants towards installing a district heating system supplied by a heat pump in Coal, Fort William. The Aberdeen Heat and Power Company has calculated that, using the renewable heat incentive (RHI) heat pumps are an even more economical means of supplying heat compared to gas engines. In the future they will certainly be lower carbon.
See report on Scottish Government plan at http://www.scotsman.com/news/environment/scottish-government-publish-green-heating-plan-1-3799946