A cash injection of £500 million aims to “anchor” a new offshore wind farm supply chain as the north-east economy tries to shift from its reliance on oil and gas.
First Minister Humza Yousaf announced the money, to be used nationally, during the SNP conference in Aberdeen on Tuesday in a speech highlighting the city’s role as an economic powerhouse.
Speaking to SNP members in the P&J Live venue, Mr Yousaf said Aberdeen had been treated as a “cash cow” by Westminster governments during the fossil fuels boom.
He admitted oil and gas workers remain “vital” to Scotland’s economy, but said he wants to create “sustainable” green jobs for the future.
“The oil and gas industry, and most crucially our workers here in the north-east, are vital to Scotland’s economy,” he said.
“They will be for years to come. But we need to look to the future.”
Offshore wind future
He added: “I can therefore announce today that over the next five years the Scottish Government will invest up to £500 million to anchor a new offshore wind supply chain right here in Scotland.
“Cutting emissions, creating sustainable jobs and sending a clear message to global investors – Scotland means business.”
Mr Yousaf’s vote of confidence for the renewables sector comes at a time when his party tries to settle on energy policy.
Senior SNP figures, such as Highland MSP Fergus Ewing, have urged the first minister to U-turn on the shift away from oil and gas.
The Scottish Government is determined to push ahead with a “just transition” – the term used to describe the plan to gradually move away from fossil fuels while protecting jobs.
The announcement came alongside a series of major spending pledges unveiled by the first minister in areas like healthcare and the arts sector.
Mr Yousaf also promised £400,000 to brush-up Aberdeen’s Union Street in the city centre.
The first minister said the street serves as the “silver mile” of the city.
Mr Yousaf’s huge funding package for wind farms was strongly welcomed by the party.
SNP energy minister Gillian Martin, who is also the MSP for Aberdeenshire East, said it will help develop port infrastructure and unlock “tens of billions worth” of economic activity.
The development for the energy sector comes just weeks after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak gave the green light to the controversial Rosebank oil field in the North Sea.