Both the renewables and oil and gas industries have paid warm tribute to the former MSP Paul Wheelhouse after he lost his seat in the Scottish elections.
Mr Wheelhouse was elected to the Scottish Parliament in 2011 and became the Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands in 2018 and credited with much of the progress made within the sector since then.
But he was eased off the regional List at Thursday’s elections after the SNP failed to pick up enough votes in South Scotland after failing to beat the Conservative’s Rachael Hamilton in Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire in the Borders.
It means a new minister will be appointed in his place.
However Claire Mack, chief executive of trade body Scottish Renewables, said: “Paul Wheelhouse’s time as Scottish Energy Minister included some of the largest developments in renewable energy policy to date, including the reinstatement of onshore wind in the Contracts for Difference Mechanism, a new offshore leasing round and the end of UK government support for small renewables.
“Throughout, the Minister showed deep understanding of this industry and recognised its benefit to Scotland’s economy as well as our environment, championing positive policy change at both parliaments.
“Of particular note is his establishment of the Scottish Offshore Wind Energy Council and unwavering support for the Heat Networks (Scotland) Act in its progress through parliament.”
“Scottish Renewables recognised these achievements with the well-deserved Outstanding Contribution Award at 2019’s Scottish Green Energy Awards.
She added: “I wish Paul all the best in his future career and look forward to working with the next Scottish Government’s new Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Net Zero and Transport following their appointment later this month.”
OGUK Chief Executive Deirdre Michie OBE was also generous in her salute.
She said: “Paul Wheelhouse has been a champion of our industry and the energy sector, understanding as he did the importance of the industry to Scotland’s economy today and to being the backbone of the energy transition moving forward.”
“I’d like to thank him for the support and challenge he provided to us throughout his tenure as Energy Minister.
“We look forward to meeting our new minister in the coming days and weeks, particularly as we continue to navigate the operational challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, while working to secure a fair transition for Scotland’s changing oil and gas industry.”