CNSRP Update, 1st August

Energy and Business Services:
• Moray Offshore Renewables Ltd held consultation events in both Helmsdale and Wick this week. The company, which received consent to develop the eastern part of its offshore wind field in the Moray Firth in 2014, is now consulting on plans to develop the western section of its area. I attended the Wick event and spoke with staff from EDP Renewables, who were keen to highlight the project’s existing consent to develop the eastern area of their project. MORL awaits the UK Government’s decision on when a further round of its “Contracts for Difference” competitive call will take place, which as previously reported here was hoped to take place by the end of 2016. http://morayoffshorerenewables.com/News/Moray-Offshore-Renewables-Consults-On-New-Offs-(1).aspx

Enabling activities:
• The Scottish EDGE competition has announced a ninth round of funding, which opened for applications this week. The Fund aims to identify and support innovative, high-growth entrepreneurial potential, and is supported by CNSRP partner Scottish Government as well as the Hunter Foundation and RBS. It has also this year worked with Social Investment Scotland to encourage Social Enterprise applications. Potential applicants can take part in or watch a Briefing Session, which is being held in Inverness in association with CNSRP partner Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and facilitator Ali Murray of Atlantic Consultants. Several north companies (such as Dunnet Bay Distillers) have benefitted from funding through the previous rounds of EDGE funding. Booking and joining information is at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/scottish-edge-round-9-workshop-hie-tickets-26677985573

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:
• I contributed an article to the latest Energy North supplement, which was issued last week with all titles in the Scottish Provincial Press group of newspapers and is now available to view online. My piece focused on the series of talks to Dounreay workers by myself and Simon Middlemas, and the extent to which we have been able to highlight positive reasons to be optimistic about the area’s future economy. The supplement had a particularly relevant range of other stories too, with Scrabster Harbour Trust, Atlantis Resources and HIE’s Calum Davidson all featuring. http://edition.pagesuite-professional.co.uk/launch.aspx?eid=a66cf0c9-5346-4b02-b853-018b7949a59d
• On a similar note, an interesting piece in the Press & Journal this week highlighting the range of major projects underway or planned in the Highlands and Islands, and the fact that recruitment firms are having to cast their nets widely to secure skilled personnel to work on them. The article makes specific mention of the tie-up between Orion Group of Inverness and Forsyth’s, the new owners of the fabrication yard in Caithness that was formerly owned by Enterprise Engineering Services Ltd. https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/business/north-of-scotland/991360/skills-in-demand-for-highland-construction-projects/
• Good to see a piece in today’s John O’ Groat Journal (not online) highlighting the encouraging progress being made with the Developing the Young Workforce initiative being managed by Caithness Chamber of Commerce. The project, which is part of the CNSRP Programme, is supported by CNSRP partners Scottish Government and the NDA.