Weekly update, 11th September

Energy & business services:
• The UK Government’s department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) this week announced its latest round of awards through the “Contracts for Difference” mechanism, in which there was mixed news for area projects. The Moray Offshore Windfarm (East) development consented for the Moray Firth – received an award, whilst the MeyGen tidal energy project did not. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/contracts-for-difference-cfd-second-allocation-round-results The Moray (East) project is a joint venture between EDP Renováveis, S.A. (77%) and ENGIE (23%) and offers further opportunity to Caithness, building on the existing developments taking place in Wick to support the operation and maintenance of the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm project. http://www.morayoffshore.com/2017/09/11/edp-renovaveis-engie-consortium-awarded-long-term-cfd-950-mw-offshore-wind-project-uk/ Meanwhile, Atlantis Resources issued a statement regarding the CfD announcement, and it can be read at https://www.atlantisresourcesltd.com/2017/09/11/statement-cfd-auction/ In the statement Atlantis highlights the difficulty in competing for a CfD award with more established technologies such as Offshore Wind. The John O’Groat Journal ran a short piece on the news in its edition published today (Friday).

Atlantis Resources Ltd was unsuccessful in its bid to obtain a Contract for Difference. Its Phase 1A project has been successfully delivering power in the Pentland Firth (image courtesy Atlantis Resources Ltd)


• Further evidence this week of the coming economic impact of offshore wind in the north, with another job at the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm being advertised. The permanent full-time post of Offshore Electrical Engineer vacancy has a deadline of 4th October, and details are at http://www.ssejobs.co.uk/caw/en/job/513883/offshore-electrical-engineer

Tourism, Food & Drink:
• The Taste North festival returns next month for its third year. The event will run as a showcase for food & drink products in Caithness and Sutherland, returning to Ackergill Tower in Caithness on Sunday 1st October with guest Nick Nairn. The event was developed by Venture North, the tourism industry cooperative group also responsible for the fantastic Venture North “Discovery” films. For more details see the Venture North website at http://www.venture-north.co.uk/taste-north/?all or visit the event Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/tastenorth

Enabling Activities:
• Caithness Transport Forum and the Wick John O’Groats Airport Consultative Committee each met this week. Both are managed by Caithness Chamber of Commerce. The Airport Consultative Committee meeting heard updates from both Loganair Ltd and Eastern Airways following the recent changes in the alliances for both carriers, and heard from both about their commitment to flights in and out of Wick John O’ Groats airport, and their willingness to listen to concerns about flight timings and lack of awareness of ticket offers. Effectively both the Wick-Edinburgh-Wick and the Wick-Aberdeen-Wick services have “new” operators (Loganair and Eastern/ Flybe respectively) and the Committee members strongly encouraged a marketing drive to highlight flight times and prices.
• As part of Highland Business Week, Caithness Chamber of Commerce will be hosting an event focused on “support available to businesses”, which will feature presentations from the Chamber, the Developing the Young Workforce team, Interface, Caithness Renewables and Highlands and Islands Enterprise. To book a place on the event, which will be on Thursday 28th September in Thurso, please contact info@caithnesschamber.com

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 and Delivery Group each met this week. The Advisory Board members considered and agreed views on the future role and remit of the Board, as well as considering my written quarterly update paper which summarises activities relating to the ongoing 2017-2020 CNSRP Programme. Members particularly welcomed the progress being made with the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm project, with Wick Harbour Authority Chairman Willie Watt able to update members on both onshore and offshore activities. Members were also able to offer a welcome to the news that the Moray Offshore Windfarm (East) development had been awarded a Contract for Difference, but expressed deep concern at the news that the MeyGen project had not been successful.

CNSRP Advisory Board member John Robertson of Crown Estate Scotland (L) with Cathy Souter and Eann Sinclair, CNSRP at the BOWL Coordination Centre/ Construction Offices, Wick Harbour, September 2017


• The Dounreay Stakeholder Group also met this week, and heard a presentation from DSRL Commercial Director Stephen Adamson on the company’s procurement strategy, as well as its new LINC programme (https://dounreay.com/2017/09/companies-set-linc-dounreay/) to encourage greater opportunities for small to medium enterprises wishing to gain business on the Dounreay site.