Weekly Update, 25th October 2010

  • The Partnership’s Delivery Group met this week to review current activities associated with the regeneration programme of work. The announcement of HIE’s successful bid to the UK Government for a superfast broadband pilot was welcomed, and the small CNSRP Connectivity group will continue to work with HIE staff as the pilot proposals are developed further. The draft Action Plan for Energy and Business Services was discussed, and I will be working on revisions to this so that it can go forward to the Partnership’s Advisory Board at its November meeting.
  • I met Karen Jackson, the Scottish Government’s representative on the Partnership’s Executive Board, to update her on current issues and activities, and to discuss opportunities for us to raise the Partnership’s profile within the Scottish Government and in Holyrood.
  • Together with Ken Nicol from DSRL I met a representative from a large marine services company to discuss opportunities arising from the development of marine energy (wave, tidal and offshore wind).
  • The Crown Estate announced that the Pentland Firth “Inner Sound” tidal site has been awarded to MeyGen. The site is the stretch of water between Stroma and the Caithness coast. Meygen will be taking on a site with 400MW generating capacity, making it potentially one of the biggest commercial tidal sites in the world. MeyGen is a consortium of Morgan Stanley (45%), International Power (45%) and Atlantis Resources (10%).  International Power were one of the first Pentland Firth bidders to establish a presence in Caithness, as they had an office at T3UK staffed by James Minto, and Atlantis Resources have been a familiar name, perhaps best associated locally with their plans for a Data Centre. MeyGen’s ambitions have been welcomed locally as a real opportunity for onshore economic benefit.
  • I took part in a phone conference with Highland Council officials and Crown Estate representatives working on a joint Memorandum of Understanding, as part of a wider process with all Highlands and Islands Local Authorities. I also met with Crown Estate Wave and Tidal Project Manager Duncan Mackay, three of his colleagues and Roy Kirk, HIE, to discuss recent progress within the wider wave, tidal and offshore wind markets and to assess any likely impacts or opportunities for our area. Duncan Mackay and I also met with Sandy Mackie and William Calder from Scrabster Harbour Trust to share some ideas emerging from the wave and tidal sector that might offer opportunities to support the Scrabster Harbour redevelopment project.