District Heating



A high-tech new heating system which will transform the way homes, businesses and public buildings in Clydebank are heated is now operational at Queens Quay.

The District Heating Network is the first large-scale water source heat pump scheme of its kind in Scotland, and will make Clydebank one of the greenest areas in the country.

Operated, through a state of the art energy centre, heat pumps will extract water from the River Clyde. This water will then be transported via district heating pipes to homes and businesses to heat them. Additional pipes will mean public buildings such as Clydebank College and Leisure Centre and other businesses into the town centre can be supplied.

In the initial phase of switch on, heat is being supplied to Council offices at Aurora House, the Titan Enterprise Centre, Clydebank Leisure Centre and the new care home at the site, Queens Quay House.


Find out all you need to know about the first 100% carbon-free district heating network in the UK. Or for more information get in touch.

The regeneration of the former John Brown Shipyard (Queens Quay) on the banks of the Clyde presents the ideal opportunity to develop a local heat network to distribute centrally generated heat to all residents and local businesses with the aim of extension beyond Queens Quay to serve wider areas of Clydebank and Dalmuir. Utilising Water Source Heat Pump Technology at its core, the new Energy Centre also retains traditional gas fired boiler capacity and large volume heat storage to provide additional resilience for all users.

Consumers will benefit from price certainty and fuel security where heat tariffs will be benchmarked against conventional fuel costs to ensure “same or less than” without being reliant on a single fuel source for generating heat and hot water or the need for constant switching.

The project is supported by capital funding from Scottish Government through the Low carbon infrastructure Transformation Programme (LCITP) and West Dunbartonshire Council the proposed Energy Supply company (ESCO) will be held in public ownership with operation being undertaken by industry leading experts Vital Energi.

Every customer will be provided with a heat meter that measures the amount of heat consumed. This is measured on the customer side of the customer interface unit. The customer interface unit (CIU) is a heat plate which allows the heat to be transferred from the Primary (Network) system to the Secondary (customer’s domestic hot water and heating installation) system. Both systems can be isolated at the CIU. The units of measurement will be kWh, which is like gas and electricity metering.

The most transparent and fair way to derive heating costs is to use a comparative method. This allows the tariff to reflect the performance of what is a competitive consumer market and makes it much easier for all customers to compare District Heating Costs with a conventional self-supply.

Yes, modern metering and monitoring solutions allow a variety of billing and payment options. Billing can be “real time” with accuracy to 15 minute intervals which allows customers to know exactly how much heat they are using.

The billing regime can be adjusted to suit customer needs including the provision of prepayment arrangements and credit billing. As meters will be read remotely a monthly billing regime is expected. 

At present the heat market in the UK is unregulated. However, the Competition and Markets Authority published a recent study which found that in the main heat charges are fair and comparable with or better than conventional alternatives. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/heat-networks-advice-for-customers-and-the-industry/heat-networks-market-study-summary-of-final-report.

Queens Quay will be registered under the Heat trust scheme rules which provide rules for voluntary regulatory framework. http://www.heattrust.org/index.php/heat-customers

Faults which are related to the primary network will be reported to the Network Operator Vital Energi on behalf of the West Dunbartonshire council owned ESCO. The Network operator has a contractual obligation to attend to faults within specified performance requirements.  The primary network extends up to and includes the CIU. If the fault is in the secondary system, this would be a matter to be addressed by the customer.

Yes, provisions will be in place to identify vulnerable users and to deliver a priority response

The energy centre generates heat which is delivered to customers via a pipe network. The primary source of heat are two electrically driven water source heat pumps which extract heat from the River Clyde. In the event of breakdown and during planned maintenance periods heat can be provided by duplicate gas boilers installed within the energy centre. Large volume heat storage is used to optimise the operation of heat pumps and boilers. The heat store will continue to supply heat to the network for at least 4 hours in the highly unlikely event that all generative capacity was to fail. In such circumstances temporary generation can be brought to site to provide an emergency supply to vulnerable users.  

Space heating by electricity is significantly more expensive than gas. Traditional gas fired domestic central heating systems burn fossil fuel to produce CO2, are relatively inefficient, require regular maintenance and safety inspections all of which increase cost in use. District heating will confer the same levels of comfort as a conventional gas fired central heating solutions without contributing to global warming through the production of greenhouse gases. The DH network will reduce the in carbon generated by 1000 houses significantly.

West Dunbartonshire Council decided to proceed with the installation of the District Heat Network to serve Queens Quay and Clydebank in 2016. The development is partly funded by Scottish Government under the Low Carbon Infrastructure Transformation Programme (LCITP). An arm’s length Energy Supply company (ESCO) will be formed which will be responsible for management of the DHN. In 2018 Vital Energi, a leading specialist energy services provider, were selected and appointed to design, build, operate and maintain the generative capacity and distribution network on behalf of the ESCO. Vital Energi will be the principal customer interface and provide expertise in all aspects of operating and maintaining the DHN.   

The primary network will be maintained by the Network operator (Vital Energi) on behalf of the ESCO (WDC). This includes the regular maintenance and, where required, the replacement of the Customer Interface unit. All maintenance costs are included within the heat tariff. The maintenance of the secondary (customer) system which provides domestic hot water and space heating will remain the responsibility of the customer as it would under a conventional system. The difference is that the CIU, provided and maintained by Network Operator, replaces the customers’ liability for repair and maintenance of a conventional gas fired boiler. 

In the first instance complaints should be notified to Network operator and ESCO. This scheme will be registered with Heat Trust  and If the problem cannot be resolved after speaking directly the  heat supplier, customers will access to a specialist independent complaint handling service operated by the Energy Ombudsman  http://www.heattrust.org/index.php/complaints