Weekly Update, 9th May 2011

Energy:

The UK Coalition Government this week forwarded 12 projects from the UK to the EU’s €4.5 bn carbon capture and renewables scheme. Of the 12 projects forwarded, five companies involved in wave and tidal development in the Pentland Firth/ Orkney Waters will be involved (Marine Current Turbines, Meygen, Scottish Power Renewables/ Hammerfest Strom, Pelamis Wave Power and Aquamarine). There will be a maximum of 3 projects approved per member state. Final EU decisions are expected by the end of this year.

 Enabling activities:

  • I continue to discuss with Highland Council colleagues actions that will go forward the the Council’s Planning, Environment & Development Committee for discussion later this month, to take forward the ideas put forward during the “onshore visioning” project with The Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment, HIE and Scottish Government. It has been useful to be able to feed in ideas from the ongoing discussions on enterprise zones.
  • HIE continues to make progress as it moves towards tendering for the development of next-generation broadband for the Highlands & Islands. It is expected that an offical advert in the Official Journal of the EU will be placed soon for tenders for this massive programme of work.
  • I have been working on agendas and papers for the meetings of the CNSRP Advisory and Executive Boards later this month. Both boards will meet on the same day, with a joint discussion session on progress happening too. That same day will also see the launch of the multi-partner “Make The Right Connections” skills transition programme for Caithness & North Sutherland.
  • An early notice of the opportunity to nominate businesses in the Highlands and Islands Food & Drink Awards. The Awards, which are now in their 7th year, are supported by HIE, with individual sponsors of a range of awards across numerous categories. Businesses from our area have been successful over the years, and hopefully there will be a number of nominations by the closing date of 4th July. To find out more see http://www.hifoodanddrinkawards.com/