The Anonymous Widower

Work Underway To Create ‘UK’s Biggest Electric Bus Charging Station’ In Glasgow

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on edie.

This is the first paragraph.

Public transport operator First Bus has begun work to retrofit its Caledonia depot in Glasgow to host 162 electric vehicle (EV) charging points, claiming the project will be the largest of its kind in the UK once complete.

These are other points from the article.

  • The project is in two phases and both will be complete by the end of 2022.
  • Phase One will handle the charging for twenty-two buses for COP26.
  • The new chargers will be 150 kW and will be supplied by the Heliox Group.
  • First Bus aim to have a zero-emission fleet in the UK by 2035.

This Google Map shows the Caledonia depot.


  1. It is a big site.
  2. There seems plenty of space in the area.
  3. The M74 Motorway in the South-West corner of the map.
  4. Further to the South-West is the main electrified railway into Glasgow Central station.

I have some thoughts.

Power Supply

Charging up 162 electric buses at a rate of 150 kW will need an electrical feed of 24.3 MW.

To illustrate the levels of renewable power available near Glasgow, Whitelee Wind Farm is a dozen miles to the South-West.

  • It is the largest onshore wind farm in the UK and the second largest in Europe.
  • It has a nameplate capacity of 539 MW.

All of a sudden 24.3 MW of preferably renewable energy doesn’t seem such a large amount.

The grid may need strengthening to bring electricity into the First Bus Caledonia depot, but I doubt that would be the most difficult of projects.

Energy Storage

I am an enthusiast for energy storage and have invested in two companies developing energy storage systems.

My modelling of water networks in the 1970s and what I’ve read since, indicate to me, that detailed modelling would show that to support a 24.3 MW electrical supply to the depot, some amount of energy storage will be needed.

Highview Power are building a system at Carrington near Manchester, that can supply 50 MW for up to five hours.

If I was First Bus, I would be seriously looking at energy storage to support the charging of the buses.

After all, there’s nothing as useless in the morning rush hour in a city like Glasgow, than a flat battery-electric bus!

Wind Turbines And Solar Panels

How about some on site power generation?


Given the renewable energy available locally and First Bus’s objective of being zero-carbon by 2035, I can see Caledonia depot being enlarged in the future.

June 7, 2021 - Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Transport/Travel | , , ,


  1. In the bottom left is an underpass under the motorway – the second part of the depot is through the underpass and off the bottom left corner.
    This depot is from about 2013 and the old depot it replaced was across the road to the west which has now been redeveloped as a retail park.
    If you follow the A728 north into the city centre, off map, it does a dumbell shape swerve to the west – the old alignment went straight on and the whole area has been redebveloped.
    The Parkside depot (oevr near the Glasgow Celtic ground) closed a couple of years ago and that depot’s compilment were moved to this Caledonia depot.
    According to wiki, this area was the former Gushetfaulds railfreight terminal.

    Comment by TW | June 7, 2021 | Reply

    • Thanks for that! It looks a very promising site for an even bigger battery-electric bus depot.

      Comment by AnonW | June 7, 2021 | Reply

  2. 24MW is a heck of a load to connect at distribution level of 11kV so would expect it would need a 33kV connection which could be expensive and disruptive in a built up area. However, I would be surprised if all buses would be on full charge simultaneously and I know Waterloo Bus garage charging is managed by ramping up capacity as load drops off the local network overnight so maybe following a similar approach. Anyhow good to see a big city making such a big commitment. Having been in Edinburgh a week ago they ought to be doing the same.

    Comment by Nicholas Lewis | June 7, 2021 | Reply

    • They must have done their sums and I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that there is a cable sneaked in alongside the M74 or the railway.

      I’ve looked on Google maps for a sub-station and can’t find one.

      But I do feel that eventually depots like this will need a battery somewhere.

      Comment by AnonW | June 8, 2021 | Reply

  3. From looking at Google maps, the 3 main buildings (2 north of motorway, 1 south of motorway) all have a lot of roof mounted solar panels.

    Comment by chilterntrev | June 8, 2021 | Reply

  4. There is a huge electricity interconnector switching site at Westbury Road, Cambuslang about 3 miles east (south of M74 J2A) – looks like 275kV or 400kV capable.

    Comment by chilterntrev | June 8, 2021 | Reply

  5. Thanks for that! Both! It looks like First Bus have done their planning well. But First Group seem to make their trains work hard by good planning!

    Comment by AnonW | June 8, 2021 | Reply

  6. Worth noting that electric buses can’t be parked as densely as EV buses, due to need to connect to chargers (physical concerns, not any other). This will reduce the overall capacity of the depot a bit but I expect they selected a site with excess room at the start. (This is another of the lessons learned from Waterloo depot–I understand the EV layout at Waterloo is quite a tight squeeze on the site with the necessary spacing for chargers/connections compared to how the depot was used previously–and therefore the Waterloo depot is now “maxed out” for stabling)

    Comment by MilesT | June 8, 2021 | Reply

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