First Minister Alex Salmond has hailed a £3bn investment package in the economy by energy giant Iberdrola as “immensely important”.
Firms across a range of fields, including the legal profession, construction firms and contractors, will be among those to benefit, Salmond said during an official visit to Bilbao in the Basque region of Spain.
Iberdrola, which owns ScottishPower, has about 1,800 suppliers in Scotland, including renewable development company Pelamis and Scottish Coal.
Salmond said: “Scotland is hugely important within Iberdrola’s plans for the future and the commitment the company has shown to our country is immensely important.
“As well as the significant contribution to the economy through contracts, the wider Iberdrola Group has recently located the UK arm of its engineering and construction business, IEC, in Lanarkshire, creating 150 jobs, and taken the decision to locate the base for the global offshore renewables business in Glasgow.
“The company also signed a £700M contract with Scottish Coal, the single largest coal contract in Scottish history.”
The first minister said relations in the field of renewables can be “further strengthened” with the firm.
ScottishPower Renewables opened Whitelee, Europe’s largest onshore windfarm, last year and there is ongoing development of carbon capture technology at Longannet power station in Fife.
Iberdrola chairman Ignacio Galan said about two-thirds of the firm`s planned £4bn investment in the UK over the 2010-2012 period will be in Scotland.
He added: “In the future, we want to see many more Basque companies going down the same road, setting up new business relationships, promoting the transfer of knowledge and technology and, ultimately, creating new business opportunities.
“This will mean that Iberdrola will continue to be a catalyst for development in Scotland and the Basque country, two lands of great importance for our company and for which we have major plans in the future.”
Salmond also announced today that Spanish renewables firm Gamesa is to send a delegation to Scotland later this month to explore opportunities for investment.
It follows a meeting between Salmond and Gamesa director Jose Maria Ugusquiza. The firm has more than 15 years’ experience in the design, manufacture, installation and maintenance of wind turbines.