Weekly update, 14th December 2015

Energy & Business Services:

Further movement in the tidal energy sector in Scotland this week, with the news that Atlantis Resources Ltd has reached an agreement with Scottish Power Renewables to purchase two of SPR’s tidal projects in Scotland. The projects are a 10MW proposal for the Sound of Islay and a 100MW project at the Ness of Duncansby at the eastern end of the Pentland Firth. The addition of the Ness of Duncansby area will complement the existing MeyGen site at the Inner Sound of the Pentland Firth, and the agreement earlier this year to take on the Brough Ness site off South Ronaldsay, following its acquisition of Marine Current Turbines from Siemens. Caithness company JGC Engineering has been working on the steel ballast structures for the initial deployment of turbines at the Meygen site.  http://atlantisresourcesltd.com/media-centre/atlantis-annoucements/79-2015-annoucements/395-scottishpower-renewables-joins-forces-with-atlantis-resources-to-establish-the-largest-tidal-stream-portfolio-in-the-uk.html

Enabling Activities:

As discussions on commercial railfreight on the Far North Line continue, it is interesting to hear of the presentation on potential for rail transport of timber from the north made by Frank Roach of HITRANS and Colin MacKenzie of the Highland Timber Transport Group at a recent HITRANS conference. The concept would involve a new freight facility being created at Kinbrace, to allow extraction and onward transportation of timber from the Flow Country. http://www.northern-times.co.uk/News/Exciting-plans-for-rail-freight-development-at-Kinbrace-15122015.htm

The incredible growth and impact of the Apps for Good programme, which aims to stimulate student interest in technologies that can help change their world, is summed up very well in this blog. This year has been another good one for the project in the north, with students continuing to excel in competitions. The work being taken forward by Chris Aitken at Wick High School (and Andrew Johnston at the Highlands and Islands Science Skills Academy) will also add to the “developing the young workforce” agenda, part of which is being taken forward by Caithness Chamber of Commerce. http://blog.appsforgood.org/2015/12/16/our-impact-in-201415/

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:

  • Thurso & Wick Trades Council met this week, and I was able to give my usual update on activities relating to CNSRP. The Trades Council brings together Trades Unions from across the area, and is represented on CNSRP’s Advisory Board.
  • I was also given the opportunity this week to meet Simon Bowen, the new Managing Director of Cavendish Nuclear, during his visit to Caithness. His extensive experience within both the nuclear and petrochemical industries is complemented by direct experience of the challenges of economies going through economic transition, so it was good to be able to talk through the current activities we feel are likely to help transition the economy of Caithness and North Sutherland away from its current dependence upon Dounreay decommissioning work. The CNSRP Programme continues to benefit from the significant Cavendish resources of both Simon Middlemas and Shona Kirk, and we look forward to working with Cavendish Nuclear over the coming months to take forward its projects on our Programme.