It will create 250 top engineering jobs in the city and safeguard 70 more posts, putting it at the heart of European energy research by the UK’s largest generator of electricity from renewables.

A partnership between Strathclyde University and Scottish and Southern Energy will create a Centre Of Engineering Excellence For Renewable Energy, backed with almost £3m of Scottish Government cash.

First Minister Alex Salmond announced the deal as he visited the Energy Advisory Board in Glasgow, with Ian Marchant, chief executive of SSE.

Glasgow was chosen ahead of other major cities across Europe, following the awarding of £2.8m Regional Selective Assistance funding from the Scottish Government.

The First Minister said the centre would establish the city at the forefront of an industry of the future.

He said: “Renewable energy is at the heart of Scotland’s new economy and society, alongside carbon capture and greater energy efficiency.

“Achieving our ambitions requires a strong partnership between Government, industry and the wider public sector.

“I am delighted Scottish and Southern Energy has decided to establish its Centre Of Engineering Excellence in Glasgow. This is a significant commitment and investment by SSE in the city and in Scotland.

“Furthermore, this initiative positions Glasgow to be at the epicentre of a key strand of 21st century engineering, just as the city dominated the engineering ages of the past.”

The new posts were described as “high value, skilled, professional jobs”.

The location of the centre of excellence has yet to be identified but will be in the city centre.

From the base SSE will develop and oversee its renewables strategy for the UK and Europe.

Mr Marchant said: “Our centre will play a crucial part in helping SSE to realise its renewable energy goals in the UK, Ireland and elsewhere in Europe, helping to secure energy supplies and contributing to the development of a lower carbon economy.

“Having considered all the options in mainland Europe, Ireland and the UK, we have settled on Glasgow as the best location. The city’s own sustainable energy ambitions also make it a very appropriate choice.

“We are very positive about the prospects for creating jobs to harness Europe’s renewable energy resources and the potential to make a significant contribution to the achievement of Scotland’s ambitions.”

Scottish and Southern Energy is starting a five-year £3bn investment programme in renewable energy projects, specialising in on and off-shore wind farms.

Professor Jim McDonald, Principal of the University of Strathclyde, said: “If we are to address the challenges of climate change, rapid and widespread deployment of renewable energy technologies is critical.

“This new partnership reflects Scotland’s potential to be at the forefront of the UK and Euro­pean renewable energy sectors, creating jobs and research and devel­opment opportunities.