Weekly update, 17th March

Energy & Business Services:

Scottish Government this week gave consents to two applications to develop offshore wind sites in the Moray Firth. The applications from Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Ltd (BOWL) and Moray Offshore Renewables Ltd (MORL) were granted subject to specific conditions relating to environmental monitoring. The projects will now go forward for final investment decisions by the respective developers.  As previously reported, Wick harbour is well positioned to attract operations and maintenance work from developments, with work having started on plans to prepare the harbour for future energy-related opportunities. The Beatrice site in particular is at its closest point only some 13.5km from the Caithness coast. See communications below for local and national reaction to the news.

Atlantis Resources, parent company of Meygen,  has this week confirmed a contract with Lockheed Martin to take forward the optimisation of its new AR1500 tidal device, which is planned for deployment at the Meygen site in the Inner Sound of the Pentland Firth.

A final reminder of the consultation events that Pelamis Wave Power will be undertaking in the north next week as the company prepares to submit application to build a wave site at Farr Point in North Sutherland. Events will be held on Monday 24th March (Caithness Horizons, Thurso, 17.00-20.00); on Tuesday 25th March (Bettyhill Hall, 13.00-16.00 and Strathy Hall, 17.30-20.00) and on Wednesday 26th March (Durness Hall, 17.00-20.00). More info on the Pelamis plans can be found here or by emailing farrpoint@pelamiswave.com

Also being consulted upon is the next phase of plans to enhance the electricity transmission grid in the north. SSE has announced two public consultation events on plans to construct a new substation at Phillips Mains near Mey, which will connect to a new substation near Thurso via a new 132kV overhead line. The events will be held at Caithness Horizons in Thurso on Wednesday 2nd April (3pm-7.30pm) and at Mey Village Hall on Thursday 3rd April (3pm-7.30pm). Consultation documents are here.

Communications:

As part of an ongoing process of helping communicate progress with the delivery of aspects of our economic transition programme CNSRP’s partners work together to generate news stories for local, regional and national media. I also speak on a regular basis to individuals and organisations across the area to update on progress. This week:

  • The CNSRP Advisory Board met this week, and in addition to my quarterly written update on progress against the 2011-14 Delivery Plan I presented final draft proposals on 2014-17 targets. There were a number of very useful comments and suggestions from members, which I will incorporate into a presentation to the Partnership’s Executive Board. The meeting also heard an update from Rebecca Machin, Deputy Rector of Wick High School, on the positive progress being made at the school, which has seen its “school-leaver destination” figures rise encouragingly over the past year.
  • Local, regional and national reaction has been widespread to news that Scottish Government has this week granted consent to the two offshore windfarm applications in the Moray Firth.