Weekly update, 9th January 2017

Energy & business services:
• The application to redevelop harbourside buildings in Wick as an Operations & Maintenance base for the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm project has been approved by Highland Council. http://sse.com/newsandviews/allarticles/2017/01/wick-telford-buildings-returning-to-maritime-use/ This is another milestone for the project, and should enable the £10M construction work to begin shortly to redevelop two buildings on the harbour-front, bringing around 90 skilled permanent SSE jobs to Wick. Recruitment for the first of these jobs has already begun, the most recent being for the post of Control Room Supervisor, which is advertised at a very attractive salary scale of £41,500-£62,500. http://www.ssejobs.co.uk/caw/en/job/509453/beatrice-control-room-supervisor The deadline for applications for this job is Tuesday 24th January.
• Swedish company Hexicon has confirmed that its Dounreay Tri project has chosen Scrabster Harbour as its onshore operations and maintenance base. As I reported before Christmas the project, which is currently seeking consent from Highland Council and Marine Scotland, seeks to build a floating offshore wind demonstrator some 6km north of Dounreay. The company estimates that two turbines will produce 10MW of power, and an operations and maintenance facility at Scrabster could provide around 7 full time permanent skilled jobs. http://www.johnogroat-journal.co.uk/News/Floating-wind-farm-to-deliver-jobs-boost-for-Scrabster-06012017.htm

What a difference three days make! Thurso beach on Wednesday (L) and Monday (R) this week


• Good to see that the second phase of work at the MeyGen project in the Inner Sound of the Pentland Firth has received a financial boost, with news that Atlantis Resources Ltd has been awarded grant funding of €20.3 million from the European “Horizon 2020” programme. This second phase of deployment, which is being taken forward under the name “Project Stroma,” will begin construction this year with first power expected next year.

Enabling activities:
• As we move into the last three weeks of pre-planning for the Jobs and How to Get Them event in Thurso, the project steering group met this week to check arrangements and review the list of attending organisations. This year’s event looks like being another busy one, with over 40 companies and organisations confirmed as attending. The event will be held from 10am til 2pm on Saturday 4th February in the ETEC facility at North Highland College, and in addition to stands featuring a range of businesses there will be staff on hand to talk about career planning and even subject choices at school/ college.

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:
• Following a £2.7M refurbishment Thurso Leisure Centre reopens next week with an expanded range of facilities. It is operated by High Life Highland on behalf of CNSRP partner Highland Council. In Will Clark’s feature in today’s (Friday’s) John O’Groat Journal it is hailed as perhaps the best facility of its kind in the Highlands.
• Welcome coverage this week of the new recording studio built in Helmsdale by singer-songwriter Edwyn Collins and his wife Grace Maxwell, following their move to the home owned by his family in the village. The facility is now attracting visits from musicians, reinforcing Helmsdale’s growing reputation as a cultural hub in the north. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-38596051