SP Energy Networks have invested £1.7 million in the four new buses which Lothian will be running from next week.

The four new, very green, buses which were unveiled by Lothian this morning will be used on the number 10 route from Monday. The fully electric double decker buses will help the bus company to play its part in achieving Net Zero Carbon by 2030.

The funding came from SP Energy Networks’ £20 million Green Economy Fund.

The buses will help immediately in reducing emissions and improving the city’s air quality.

Minister Graeme Dey in the foreground with Guy Jefferson COO of SP Energy Networks left and Nigel Serafini Interim MD of Lothian right PHOTO ©2021 The Edinburgh Reporter

SP Energy Networks is committed to investing in the communities it serves to help councils and he government reduce the carbon footprint. As part of the ScottishPower Group it is a Principal Partner of COP 26 to be held in Glasgow in November. In all the company is investing £10 billion in clean energy generation and networks infrastructure which are needed to help the UK decarbonise so that Net Zero Carbon can be achieved everywhere.

The new buses were built by Alexander Dennis the biggest bus builder in the country at its Falkirk base. The buses have “smart management” allowing reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption.

Transport Minister Graeme Day inspecting the battery storage at the rear of the bus PHOTO ©2021 The Edinburgh Reporter

Transport Minister Graeme Dey, who attended the official launch of the new electric fleet at Dynamic Earth, said: “Scotland was one of the first countries in the world to declare a global climate emergency and with projects like this we continue to show our commitment to reducing emissions.

“As the country comes out of the pandemic and restrictions continue to ease, it is essential that our recovery is a green one, which has returning to public transport at its heart. This all-electric service is welcome news both for Edinburgh bus users and the environment.

“It’s also fantastic to see private sector organisations collaborate to tackle climate change. The funding from SP Energy Networks to support Lothian’s electric fleet with buses made in Falkirk is very much an initiative to be welcomed and encouraged.’’

Bus Driver Gabor Nemeth with the new buses Photo Ian Georgeson

Guy Jefferson, Chief Operating Officer at SP Energy Networks, said: “This is an historic moment in Edinburgh’s journey to Net Zero. The four new electric double decker buses will serve one of the busiest bus routes in the capital and provide a blueprint for other routes across the city. 

“Edinburgh has ambitious plans to be a leading UK Net Zero emissions city by 2030 but for that to happen there needs to be big changes. The introduction of this new technology will improve air quality and noise pollution while supporting the city’s green recovery from the pandemic.

“We are committed to collaborating with government and industry to harness the knowledge, skills and resources we need to tackle climate change. Net Zero is now the prism through which we take all our business decisions. It’s one of the key drivers of our decision to become a Principal Partner of the COP26 global climate change conference, which is taking place in Scotland later this year. 

“By working with our partners in Edinburgh and across Scotland through initiatives such as this we can deliver the cleaner, greener and better future we all want, quicker.”

Nigel Serafini, Interim Managing Director at Lothian Buses, said: “Across the last decade, Lothian has removed around 15,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from our carbon footprint through our fleet replacement strategies, and the introduction of Edinburgh’s first fully electric double decker buses allows us to continue on this journey, further reducing our impact on the environment.

“These new buses are fitted with the most advanced zero emissions technology and the introduction of these vehicles across our Service 10 further cements our commitment to meet the requirements of the Scottish Government and The City of Edinburgh Council’s climate change strategies.

“We’re delighted to have been able to partner with SP Energy Networks’ Green Economy Fund on this project and look forward to working with them again in the future.”

Transport and Environment Convener Councillor Lesley Macinnes said: “This is a really exciting step forward for the city’s public transport network, and our own ambitions to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2030. We want to make a green recovery from the pandemic and to do this we need to encourage more people to make sustainable transport choices. These buses offer a clean, reliable and environmentally-friendly alternative to the car.

“As we work towards the introduction of a Low Emission Zone in Edinburgh too, electric and other low emission buses will be essential for transporting people to the city centre while maintaining clean, breathable air. 

“In the coming months we’ll be playing an important supporting role when Glasgow hosts the major COP26 climate change conference, and it’s innovations such as these that signal our firm commitment to tackling the climate emergency.”

The new vehicles also have USB charging points which we have become used to in Edinburgh, on-board audio-visual next stop announcements and free Wi-Fi to provide the best customer experience.

So far, 35 projects have been awarded funding from SP Energy Networks Green Economy Fund in Central and Southern Scotland. www.spenergynetworks.co.uk/pages/green_economy_fund.aspx