HUMZA Yousaf has pledged to make Aberdeen the “renewable energy capital of the world” as Ash Regan met with Scotland’s top civil servant as the SNP leadership race enters its final stretch.

The SNP contest will conclude on March 27, with Kate Forbes also running to replace Nicola Sturgeon.

It comes as Finance Secretary Forbes told The National’s Holyrood Weekly podcast that she believes Scottish independence would be “more straightforward” than the Tory-led Brexit the UK is currently dealing with.

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As the candidates race to set out their stalls and sweep up any remaining votes in the last week of the contest, Yousaf met with offshore industry representatives in Aberdeen while Regan said she was ready to “hit the ground running” after a meeting with the Permanent Secretary.

Yousaf vowed that if he becomes Scotland’s next first minister, he will ensure all future offshore wind has at least a 10% public equity stake.

He also said no oil and gas worker would be left behind in the transition to renewables.

On Friday, Yousaf visited a Wartsila servicing site in Altens, Aberdeen and said it was time for Scotland to “own our green future”.

The National: The SNP leadership race is entering the final stretchThe SNP leadership race is entering the final stretch

“My plans will use the powers we have available to cement Aberdeen as a renewable energy capital of the world,” he said.

“Scotland is already a renewable energy powerhouse – we’re home to the world’s largest leasing round for floating offshore wind, but I will ensure that more of Scotland’s energy potential is developed for the public good.

“As first minister, your SNP government will maximise the deployment of wind, solar and hydro generation on public assets to deliver cheaper energy, create thousands of high-quality, sustainable jobs and save money for the public purse.

“Unlocking this renewable energy potential will secure our energy security and reduce energy bills in the process – putting money back into the pockets of hard-working families.”

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Jenny Stanning, of Offshore Energies UK, who also met with Yousaf welcomed the engagement from the Health Secretary and the other leadership contenders.

She said: “We’re pleased Humza Yousaf recognised the need to rapidly scale up renewable electricity, strengthen Scotland’s energy security and ensure we support our brilliant, skilled workforce to reap the benefits of an expanding and competitive offshore energy sector.”

It comes as Regan has said she is ready to “hit the ground running” if she wins the race to succeed Nicola Sturgeon after a meeting with Scotland’s top civil servant.

Regan met with Permanent Secretary John-Paul Marks at the Scottish Government’s headquarters in Edinburgh on Friday, to lay out her vision for Scotland if she becomes first minister.

The National: Regan met with John-Paul Marks on FridayRegan met with John-Paul Marks on Friday (Image: NQ)

The same offer has been made to all three candidates, although it is unclear if Kate Forbes or Humza Yousaf have yet to meet with the head of the civil service in Scotland.

“It was a pleasure to meet the Permanent Secretary today, and to share my vision for the way forward for Scotland,” Regan said.

“The positive, constructive, inclusive vision I have been advocating for over my campaign, includes the Independence commission which would be announced on day one alongside the civic-led Convention”.

“I will hit the ground running, I will reach across party lines, and I will deliver for the people of Scotland.

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“There are huge priorities in both the NHS and with the economy suffering a cost-of-living crisis.

“We will tackle them and all else with the full power of parliament and government.

“The Permanent Secretary will now ensure the plans I have previously set out, are communicated, and the formations of the delivery plan are established.

“I look forward to working with him following a successful leadership bid.”

A spokesperson for the Scottish Government said: “The Permanent Secretary has offered to meet with all three leadership candidates as part of the civil service’s preparations to support the new first minister.”