SCOTLAND’S First Minister has said a “significant milestone” in Scotland’s expansion of offshore wind power has been passed.

Humza Yousaf made the announcement at the Scottish Renewables offshore wind conference in Glasgow on Wednesday, where more than 1100 delegates had gathered.

He said three projects in ports and manufacturing, which together are worth almost £500 million in capital investment, have moved into the next stage of the Scottish Government’s strategic investment model.

The Government did not disclose details of what the projects are, citing commercial confidentiality.

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The First Minister told the conference: “There are moments when certain industries can stand confident that when they look ahead, they will see a future in which they play a pivotal role in securing the wealth and wellbeing of a nation – Scotland’s offshore industry is at that moment.

“Together, we can create the right conditions to attract investment, build the supply chain, recruit and deliver the infrastructure needed to ensure that these projects will thrive.

“A select group of three initial projects have been invited to move to stage two of the SIM [strategic investment model] process, in a significant milestone in our offshore programme.

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“They represent a mix of local and inward investment opportunities into ports, port infrastructure, and manufacturing – collectively, they have a capital expenditure of just under £500m.”

A recent report found jobs in Scotland’s renewable energy sector rocketed by more than 50% in 2021.

The Fraser of Allander Institute (FAI) said the industry supported 42,000 jobs compared with 27,000 in the previous year.

The report estimated that onshore wind supported the most jobs with 12,030, followed by 10,120 in offshore wind, 7220 in renewable heat and 5605 in hydropower.

Offshore wind powered the most activity across the Scottish economy, generating more than £4 billion, followed by onshore wind with £3.4bn and hydropower with £1.2bn. 

Scottish Renewables said it demonstrated the growing economic value from harnessing the sector.

Paul Cooley, director of offshore wind, SSE Renewables said: “Today we have heard from the First Minister about the incredible benefits a burgeoning offshore wind sector could bring for Scotland.

“In particular we back the call to tackle the climate and nature crisis together. 

“SSE Renewables is fully committed to that approach and we believe developments, like our 4.1GW super project Berwick Bank, present an early opportunity to demonstrate how we can build offshore wind at scale while delivering a nature positive outcome."