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SPEN Awards Multi-million pound funding to projects accelerating Scotland's green economy


THIRTEEN of Scotland’s most innovative low-carbon transport and heating projects, from electric buses to water-powered underground heat pumps, were today awarded multi-million pound funding from SP Energy Networks’ £20m Green Economy Fund.

The fund, established earlier this year by the electricity network operator, supports the ambitious green targets of the Scottish Government to boost local economic growth, improve air quality in our cities and deliver a better future, quicker.

Almost £6million has been awarded after the first round of funding applications – including a ground-breaking new partnership with First Glasgow, Scotland’s biggest bus operator, to bring the first large passenger electric buses to Glasgow.

And in a double boost for the city’s green transport systems, the Green Economy Fund will also ensure the city’s only previous electric bus, which was set to stop running because of a lack of funding, will continue to operate on its popular museums route for the next three months.

In Edinburgh, a mini hydro-electric scheme on the Water of Leith at Saughton Park will also receive funding as will an innovative app which tracks electric vehicle charging points.

SP Energy Networks’ CEO Frank Mitchell revealed the successful projects at Glasgow’s Riverside Museum today (Tuesday) and encouraged other green projects to apply for the second round of funding.

Frank Mitchell, Chief Executive of SP Energy Networks, said: “There are many projects, large and small, which are carrying out innovative and inspiring work to expand Scotland’s green economy and accelerate local economic growth. The Green Economy Fund can provide them with the financial boost required to make great ideas a reality.

“The Scottish Government has an ambitious plan to reduce carbon emissions and to grow Scotland’s use of electric vehicles and SP Energy Networks is ready to help deliver that plan. We want to promote the uptake of electric vehicles and the development of the infrastructure required; we want to help with the provision of affordable low carbon heating to address fuel poverty and we want to encourage low carbon job creation.

“But the Green Economy Fund isn’t just about individual green projects; it is about creating and accelerating a green economy for Scotland – to deliver a better future, quicker. The projects that have been helped with this first round of SP Energy Networks’ funding will help to do that; to make Scotland a cleaner, greener place for generations to come.”

Welcoming the project funding, Scottish Government Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation, Ivan McKee, said: “Innovation is key in supporting the decarbonisation of heat and transport – and delivering our vision of a whole energy system that works for everyone.

“Securing funding is a crucial first step for many projects, and initiatives such as the Green Economy Fund play a vital role in supporting investment in low carbon technologies. I am particularly pleased to see that the fund will target communities and social groups which may not have had the opportunity to fully engage in the transition to a low carbon economy but that deserve equal access to the benefits it can bring.”

Andrew Jarvis, Managing Director of First Glasgow said: “We are delighted to be working in close partnership with SP Energy Networks to access their Green Economy Fund. The award will allow for the purchase and operation of our first electric vehicles in Glasgow whilst also future proofing our depot for more widespread electric bus operation. I am really looking forward to getting these new vehicles in to service on route M3 and receiving feedback from our customers, our driving team and our engineering colleagues.”

Initiatives supported by the Green Economy Fund include:

  • £1.5million has been awarded to establish Glasgow’s first permanent electric bus routes, the M3 First Glasgow service. With support from SPT, two electric buses manufactured by Alexander Dennis will operate between Milton and Glasgow city centre serving over 200,000 passengers annually.
  • City of Edinburgh Council’s refurbishment of Saughton Park to introduce a micro-hydro scheme to power ground source heat pumps that will in turn produce electricity for community facilities, the Winter Gardens glasshouse, electric vehicle charge points and park lighting.
  • £2.1million will support Scotland’s biggest and most ambitious regeneration project, the Clyde Gateway, to create a self-sufficient local energy supply and generate income that can be reinvested into local projects and reduce fuel poverty. This will be achieved by introducing heat pump technology into its waste water treatment centre.
  • Community Transport Glasgow, Scotland’s first civic transport organisation to be fully low carbon, replacing aging diesel minibuses with a new fleet of electric and low-carbon minibuses to provide life-line transport for more than 75,000 elderly, disabled and vulnerable passengers.
  • Glasgow’s council-operated 100 service which connects the Riverside Museum with Kelvingrove, the SEC and the city centre, will also receive 3-months funding of £25,000 while SP Energy Networks works with the operators to find a permanent solution to prevent it from closure.
  • The development of WattsUp, an app to guide drivers to their nearest electric charging point. It will collate data from all of Scotland’s network operators and provide real-time data on when and where to stop.
  • A programme of local ‘smart energy’ action plans and feasibility studies developed with community councils in Dumfries & Galloway, the Scottish Borders, Fife and Glasgow led by the team at Community Energy Scotland.
  • An ambitious project to improve energy efficiency of the iconic 1960s Basil Spence Canongate housing development in the heart of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile world heritage site.
  • The establishment of two new car clubs – the Hawick Community EV Car Club in the Scottish Borders and KA8 Electric Car Club in North Ayrshire.
  • Two sustainable energy facilitators employed by the Southern Uplands Partnership to develop energy initiatives and signpost funding to tackle issues such as rural fuel poverty and hard to insulate properties in the south of Scotland.
  • A research project to develop a new model for community-led energy networks, which will feature a pilot scheme in Ettrick and Yarrow to connect locally generated renewable energy to electric vehicle charging points and public transport as well as storage heating in public facilities.
  • A modern teaching facility at Dumfries & Galloway College for the teaching and development of renewable technologies with funding to provide technologies to for heat and power to the hub, and to be used as teaching aids.

SP Energy Networks, which delivers electricity to more than two million customers in Scotland, is working with the Scottish Government and energy regulator Ofgem to fund low-carbon initiatives which support local economic growth. The Green Economy Fund focuses on the communities in which SP Energy Networks operates – central and southern Scotland – and will run for two years.

Applications are invited for the second round of funding. For further information or to apply, please visit


Notes to Editors

SP Energy Networks:

  • SP Energy Networks (SPEN) is the distribution arm of ScottishPower and the licensed Electricity Distributor (DNO) for Central & Southern Scotland and for Merseyside, Cheshire, North Wales and North Shropshire. We have 30,000 substations (one substation for every 100 customers), 40,000km overhead lines (once around the globe), and 70,000km underground cables.
  • SPEN also operates the Transmission Network in Central and Southern Scotland. They take electricity generated from power stations, windfarms and various other utilities and transport it through their vast transmission network, consisting of over 4000 kilometres of overhead and 320 kilometres of underground lines. They have 129 transmission substations in their network that help us to manage extra high voltage electricity supplies.
From 2015 to 2023 SP Energy Networks plans to invest approximately £5 billion into the electricity network. To keep power supplies on the company currently manages over 110,000km of power cables and 30,000 substations across their network area.

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