SP Energy Networks’ Green Economy Fund has invested nearly £1.5m to enable the decarbonisation of First Glasgow’s buses, firstly by funding two new all-electric buses that were launched in 2020, and more recently to provide the additional infrastructure needed to connect these new rapid chargers.
The installation of 11 rapid bus chargers at its Caledonia Depot means First Bus can now fully charge its electric bus fleet in four hours.
The completion of phase one will be followed by the arrival of 22 electric buses at the depot ahead of the UN COP26 climate change conference in November.
To provide the additional capacity required to deliver phase two, a new £6m substation funded through the Green Recovery investment scheme will be constructed on land provided by First Bus near the Caledonia Depot by the end of 2022.
This reinforcement of the network south of the River Clyde will create additional headroom to ensure local businesses, amenities and housing can decarbonise the transport system without concerns over capacity and security of the electricity supply.
First Bus hopes in future to be able to charge up to 300 electric buses at the Caledonia Depot. Phase two will deliver an additional 69 rapid chargers, providing the capacity to charge 162 vehicles at one time.
First Bus will also have the capability to charge 89% of the depot’s electric bus fleet at the same time using smart charging software.
Frank Mitchell, Chief Executive of SP Energy Networks, said: “With more than a quarter of the UK’s carbon emissions coming from transport, decarbonising this sector is vital if we are to deliver on government net zero targets. And our electricity networks have a critical role when it comes to the delivery of ambitious net zero plans across Scotland like those announced by First Bus – they are the key to making this happen.
“With Glasgow hosting COP26 in just over a month, the eyes of the world will be on us and we have a fantastic opportunity to showcase some of the work we are doing with key transport partners like First Bus through our Green Economy Fund and Green Recovery investment to support the global campaign against climate change.”
Minister for Transport, Graeme Dey, said: “The climate leadership that First Bus has demonstrated is significant, having invested more than £35 million for this facility in addition to the £28m offered through our Scottish Ultra Low Emission Bus Scheme.
“Looking at the scale of ambition demonstrated at the Caledonia depot, it’s clear that a zero-emission bus network is much closer than we might think.”
Duncan Cameron, Interim Managing Director for First Bus in Scotland, said: “Locally, at First Glasgow, we have led the way in the city toward the decarbonisation of public transport with the adoption of the country’s first Low Emission Zone and now we are once again raising the bar with state-of-the-art rapid charging that has the potential to change the game for the transition to Electric transport across the whole city.
“We are proud to unveil our Caledonia depot charging station ahead of COP26 which has the potential to charge a double decker bus in just four hours.”