Make no mistake about it: the announcement of contracts for the Neart Na Gaoithe Offshore Wind Farm show that this sector in Scotland is truly up and running.

The contracts announced yesterday will create jobs in the Scottish Borders, and in Fife, in Dundee, and potentially even further afield across Scotland.

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The initial contract announcement has been made, but this is an enormous project that will require a hugely-diverse range of skills and technologies, and there’s likely to more good news to come as its development progresses.

Scotland, with 25 per cent of Europe’s offshore wind resource, stands at the beginning of its journey into offshore wind, and we’re now starting to experience the very real economic benefits this exciting industry can deliver north of the Border.

Already the Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm has created almost 100 permanent jobs in one of Scotland’s most economically fragile regions. There, offshore wind is delivering skilled, well-paid employment, and we’re now starting to see the Neart Na Gaoithe project delivering on its promise too.

With historic delays now behind us we stand at the starting line for this sector in Scotland. Our plans for offshore wind are staggering. The Sector Deal struck between industry and the UK Government earlier this year aims for 30GW of offshore wind in UK waters by 2030.

Following on from that deal, the Scottish Offshore Wind Energy Council was set up to deliver an offshore wind sector which plays to Scotland’s strengths, delivering jobs, investment and export opportunities in line with that UK Sector Deal as a key part of the path to net-zero.

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At its launch last month it clarified those UK figures even further, committing to an eightfold increase in Scotland’s offshore wind capacity, from 1GW to 8GW by 2030 – enough to power the equivalent of 5.2 million households, more than twice the number in Scotland.

Trust me when I say that what’s happening in Scotland right now is of global interest, and our industry has shown, through its involvement in the Sector Deal and the Scottish Offshore Wind Energy Council, among others, that it is determined to do the very best it can to ensure Scotland reaps the benefits of what is a world-class industry developing in our backyard.

The deployment of renewable energy is driven in large part by our commitments to reduce the carbon emissions that cause climate change. That Scotland has acted first to do that – decommissioning dirty, aged fossil fuel plants and replacing them with wind, solar, hydro and more, as well as tapping existing offshore expertise gained through the extraction of oil and gas – gives us an advantage on that global stage.

Other countries, now bound by their international commitments on emissions reduction, must seek to follow where Scotland has already led. Those highly-skilled jobs, which are being created by offshore wind, as well as other more established renewable energy technologies, are attractive to foreign firms, as well as those in the at home market.

Our industry is already using Scottish ingenuity to deliver projects abroad: Orkney offshore contractor Leask Marine, for example, is providing environmental monitoring, logistics and anchor handling support to offshore wind farms across northern Europe after building a reputation in Orkney’s booming wave and tidal energy sector.

In one part of the offshore wind sector in particular, Scotland is leading the way. Innovation has allowed offshore wind projects to cut costs faster and further than anyone thought possible, and Scotland’s pedigree in this area is impressive.

With one floating wind farm already deployed and another in the pipeline, our unique offshore supply chain and the skillset it supports put us at the forefront of the deployment of these innovative machines.

At the smaller scale, too, our offshore wind companies are providing the types of innovation which will enable the wider industry to deliver more clean energy, more reliably, for longer.

Fife firm Pict Offshore’s Get Up Safe system provides offshore maintenance teams with ladder-free access to turbines. Its use will allow the removal of access ladders and boat landing metalwork from the side of offshore turbines.

Ecosse Subsea Systems’ gigantic undersea plough – the SCAR Seabed System – digs trenches for submarine cables and was specially-designed for offshore wind. The 30ft-long device has already seen action at the Westermost Rough, Race Bank and Wikinger offshore wind farms, as well as on the 71-mile subsea Caithness to Moray Transmission Link.

Offshore wind can deliver such large amounts of clean power that its predicted global market is enormous. A report by the International Energy Agency last month predicts the offshore wind industry could be worth

$1 trillion by 2040 – with global offshore wind capacity increasing 15-fold over this timeframe.

While Scotland’s contribution to that capacity may be small, it’s our intention, as an industry, that its contribution in terms of skills and knowledge will be far greater. Continued close working between government and industry can deliver an exciting future for offshore wind in Scotland – and an exciting future for Scotland on the global stage.

Claire Mack is the chief executive of Scottish Renewables.