Energy & Business Services
Good to catch up this week with Louise Smith of Caithness Renewables, and to hear the welcome news that the project she has been working on with Caithness Voluntary Group and Transition Black Isle has taken a big step forward. ACTION Highland Highway has been awarded £35,000 from CNSRP partner Scottish Government’s Local Energy Challenge Fund in order to help establish a network of electric vehicle charging points, using an innovative link with Denchi Power, who supply batteries for use by the Ministry of Defence. http://www.localenergyscotland.org/funding-resources/funding/local-energy-challenge-fund/2015-phase-one-projects/action-highland-highway/
Further work is starting on the Caithness-Moray electricity grid programme, with this week’s news from Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission that work to extend the Mybster substation on the Causeymire and work to the Dounreay sub-station are both due to start this month. Both are part of the upgrading of the overhead line that will be routed from Dounreay via the new Thurso South substation (work on which started recently) and the new Spittal substation (which is also in construction). When the two latest projects commence it will mean that activity will be underway at all the main substation sites in the £1.1 billion programme. Work to create a new access junction at Mybster will mean short-term traffic restrictions on the main A9 trunk road.
I met this week with colleagues from North Highland College UHI to hear of early plans to enhance the Thurso Campus, building on the success of its Centre for Energy & the Environment and Engineering Technology & Energy buildings to create a state of the art learning environment for future generations of students and users. The College owns a key project on the CNSRP Programme, and is an important partner in the ongoing development of skills for both current and future economic opportunities in the north. I met separately with College colleagues this week to discuss progress with the project on CNSRP’s programme, and to identify ways we can continue to support the College to achieve its key milestones.
I also met this week with Mark Stuart of Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd, to discuss progress with the Wick John O’Groats Airport project that is on the CNSRP Programme. It was good to hear of the completion of the external re-cladding of the building beside the airport Terminal building, which was made possible through joint work by HIAL and the building’s owner. It was also good to hear of the imminent start on work to resurface the apron area at the airport, and of continued good progress with procedures for satellite landing systems.
Caithness Chamber of Commerce, whose membership is at record levels, has this week announced the launch of its “Young Business of the Year” award. The term “young business” refers to the age of the company, not the age of individuals involved, so the award will be open to businesses in the area that have been in existence for less than five years. Anyone who would like to enter (or nominate an entry) can contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 01847 890076 for information and an application form.
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: