Energy & Business Services:
Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Ltd (BOWL) held a pre-application consultation event in Wick this week in support of plans related to the onshore infrastructure at Wick Harbour for its proposed offshore windfarm development off the Caithness coast. IT was good to speak to members of the BOWL team, and to see the latest plans for what an operations and maintenance facility could look like in Wick. Lead partner SSE is expected to reach a Final Investment Decision on the project in the very near future. More information on the BOWL project at www.sse.com/beatrice And in a related announcement this week the UK Government expects a £290M “Contract for Difference (CfD)” funding round this year for offshore wind projects. As previously highlighted here, the Moray Offshore Renewables Ltd (MORL) project in the Moray Firth was unsuccessful in a previous CfD round, so it will be interesting to see what implications the news will have for MORL’s future plans. http://renews.biz/101956/osborne-730m-for-cfd-auctions/
Tourism, Food and Drink:
This week is Scottish Tourism Week, and to coincide with this CNSRP partner Highlands and Islands Enterprise has announced investment in work to ensure businesses in the area maximise benefit from a new Digital Tourism Scotland programme. Caithness Chamber of Commerce is one of a network of business led groups across the HIE area that will carry out survey work to find out how businesses currently use digital technologies, and identify what areas of support might be needed. Training events and support will also be available to businesses. http://www.hie.co.uk/about-hie/news-and-media/archive/hie-announces-digital-support-for-tourism-businesses.html A good example of this is the successful series of tourism webinars being offered, which will take place in April and May on topics such as website MOT and understanding the digital tourist. More details at http://www.hie.co.uk/growth-sectors/tourism/tourism-intelligence/webinar-series/registration-form.html
It has been another good month for the drinks industry in the north – the Wolfburn Distillery in Thurso issued its first product this month (the first whisky to be distilled on the site for 150 years) whilst last night (Thursday 17th) Old Pulteney Distillery in Wick won the award for “World’s Best Single Malt” at the World Whiskies Awards for its 1989 Malt!
And another north organisation that has enjoyed a good few months is the North Highland Initiative, whose work on the North Coast 500 project has produced such astonishing global interest in the north mainland. It was good to be able to catch up with NHI’s Chair and Chief Executive yesterday in the company of NDA colleagues. And good luck to the NC500 team at tonight’s prestigious Thistle Awards.
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: