We've unlocked £13 million for green projects in COP26 host city

15/06/2021

We have unlocked £13 million of fresh funding for Glasgow, host city of the United Nations climate change conference (COP26), to invest in the city’s electricity distribution network. 

Three critical projects will provide additional electrical capacity in areas where we expect electricity demand to grow, delivering the network infrastructure required to support Glasgow’s low carbon future and help support a green economic recovery.

Susan Aitken, leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “Around half of greenhouse gas emissions are generated through how we heat our homes and how we travel around our city. 

“Finding solutions to these two major contributors will be a huge step forward in delivering on Glasgow’s Net Zero carbon targets, as well as social challenges around fuel poverty and pollution. 

“Glasgow has the partnerships, the innovation and the shared commitment to not only make COP a success but to create a cleaner, fair and more prosperous city for all its people.”

One area where we expect this capacity to increase is close to the city’s COP26 venues. As delegates are welcomed to Glasgow this November to discuss accelerating climate action, we are investing £6 million to ensure the additional electricity demand needed in the city can be supported by providing new electrical circuits operated from an existing nearby substation.

Following the end of COP26, a substation will be built to house this new equipment and create additional electrical capacity for the city centre helping to facilitate future green developments and the connection of low carbon technologies, leaving a lasting COP26 legacy.

Frank Mitchell, CEO of SP Energy Networks, said: “Glasgow is about to host one of the most important climate summits since 2016, COP26. The summit will be a pivotal moment when global action is agreed to help tackle the ongoing climate crisis.

“Here in Glasgow, and across the UK, we are also at a pivotal moment for our energy networks. We need to see significant investment in our networks now, so they can deliver the electrification of heat and transport and the move to renewable energy that is needed to meet our climate ambitions.

“This £13million funding will not only enable the delivery of COP26 later this year, but it will play a part in Glasgow achieving its own climate change ambitions at the pace and scale needed to support the city’s people and businesses on the journey to Net Zero.”

Glasgow will also receive a further £6 million investment in another new substation that will be critical to public transport operator First Bus and their ambitions to phase in the introduction of electric buses from 2021 to 2023 with the necessary charging infrastructure. This work requires additional capacity that currently cannot be supported by the existing electricity network.

This project will see the installation and commission of a new primary substation on land provided by First Bus near its Caledonia Depot in the south side of the city by the end of 2022. 

Andrew Jarvis, Portfolio Managing Director for First Bus UK, said: “We are delighted to once again be partnering up with SP Energy Networks and Glasgow City Council to bring this exciting project to life at our Glasgow Caledonia depot. 

“First Bus is at the forefront of the green transport revolution, and we continue to fast-track our efforts to surpass passenger expectations. We are proud to be announcing the UK’s largest EV charging infrastructure as part of our transition to a zero-emission fleet. 

“We are making excellent progress on our commitments to reduce air pollution and carbon emissions in our communities.  By improving the air quality in the areas we operate within, we are supporting the health of our customers, and by cutting carbon emissions we are putting our weight behind Scotland’s ambitious plans for tackling the global threat of climate change.

“Launching this project at Caledonia depot, the largest of its kind, is a very exciting next step and reinforces that both First Bus and our stakeholders are making continued investment in the future of bus. This is an ambitious and exciting plan that will have positive implications for the entire city of Glasgow.”

The final of the three projects will see £1 million invested to upgrade equipment in 16 substations in and around the city to support the planned decarbonisation of Police Scotland’s vehicle fleet. The fleet, made up of around 3,500 marked and unmarked vehicles, is the largest public sector vehicle fleet in Scotland and the second largest police fleet in the UK behind the Metropolitan Police. 

The network project will assist in the creation of a ‘green corridor’ of electric vehicle charging points along the key routes which will be primarily used by police to escort delegates and heads of state when COP26 takes place in Glasgow later this year.

This reinforcement work will release additional network capacity, allowing Police Scotland to connect electric vehicle chargers in key locations as it accelerates plans to decarbonise its entire fleet. 

The £13 million investment is the beginning of much bigger plans to invest in a network capable of delivering a just transition on the journey to Net Zero carbon emissions.

Frank Mitchell adds: “The projects we have announced in Glasgow represent the tip of the iceberg for our energy networks. We have ambitious plans to revolutionise the distribution network between 2023 and 2028 - an infrastructure project to rival anything this country has delivered in recent memory.”

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