A project aimed at developing offshore wind power has been given a £1.5 million funding boost from ministers.

The Scottish Government has confirmed it is investing in the Carbon Trust’s Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA) programme – which brings together developers in a bid to make offshore wind a more affordable source of power.

Last year ministers provided the same amount of funding towards the project

Energy minister Paul Wheelhouse announced the latest cash award during a visit to Burntisland Fabrication’s (BiFab) yard in Methil, Fife, where work is being done in conjunction with the OWA.

Mr Wheelhouse said: “The Scottish Government’s decision to invest a further £1.5 million into the OWA is a ringing endorsement of the great potential of this programme to help Scotland to utilise the full potential of offshore wind, and to ensure that we make it as affordable as possible.

“The Carbon Trust have done a fantastic job so far in reducing the costs of offshore wind, as well as encouraging collaboration across the public and private sectors to improve the industry as a whole.

“The potential benefits of offshore wind energy in Scotland are enormous, which is why the Scottish Government is committed to its development. By continuing to invest in it, not only are we stimulating economic change for the better, but we’re also helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Scotland and helping to fight the impacts of climate change.”

Carbon Trust director Jan Matthiesen said the funding from the Scottish Government, together with the investment from nine developers, “shows there is real confidence in the ability of the OWA to continue to deliver further cost reductions”.

He added: “This signals continuing support and investment into a programme that has helped to reduce the costs of offshore wind and helped to pave the way towards a subsidy free energy source.”

Lindsay Roberts, senior policy manager at industry body Scottish Renewables, said: “Scotland has huge amounts to gain from offshore wind and it’s an incredibly exciting time for the industry.

“Our first major offshore wind farm – the Beatrice project in the Moray Firth – is being constructed right now, alongside Statoil’s world leading floating wind development Hywind, and Vattenfall’s highly innovative European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre. A number of other exciting schemes are getting ready to progress along our east coast.

“These funds will allow the Carbon Trust to explore the opportunities which offshore wind can offer and help make sure that Scotland reaps the maximum benefits from the sector’s growth.”