Further community engagement events have taken place this week – a drop-in event was held in Tongue on Wednesday, followed by a further drop-in event in Wick on Thursday. An interesting article was published in Forbes magazine last week on SpaceHub Sutherland https://www.forbes.com/sites/jonathanocallaghan/2019/03/01/the-tiny-scottish-community-that-could-start-launching-rockets-to-space/#16a616953db7 and this week the Press & Journal has been running a series of articles on the project – a couple of them are at https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/highlands/1696765/expert-claims-building-a-spaceport-would-send-a-message-to-the-world-that-scotland-is-now-leading-the-space-sector-globally/ and https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/highlands/1696767/plans-to-build-a-spaceport-in-sutherland-could-help-create-significantly-more-than-400-jobs/ and there was a debate on the subject of the Scottish space industry in the Chamber of the Scottish Parliament this week, with Caithness, Sutherland & Rossshire MSP Gail Ross amongst those
Energy & Business Services:
Last week the UK Government’s Dept for Energy Business and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) launched its Sector Deal for Offshore Wind – setting out an aim that the offshore wind sector will generate up to 30% of the UK’s energy by 2030. https://renews.biz/51876/sector-deal-sets-uk-on-offshore-path-to-30gw/ This new Sector Deal will see the industry investing up to £250m to develop the UK supply chain, increasing productivity and fostering innovation. This includes an investment of up to £100m in a new industry programme (the Offshore Wind Growth Partnership) which will help UK companies seeking to grow their business in the rapidly-growing global offshore wind market, as well as a new initiative to develop skills for the sector (with a global market forecast of around 150 GW by 2030.)
I mentioned last week that the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm project has passed the 75% mark in its construction phase with the installation of the 63rd of 84 turbines. BOWL has also released a short film looking at the onshore impact that the building of Beatrice has had on Wick, and it is worth watching at the project’s twitter feed at https://twitter.com/beatricewind/status/1103658272186384384
After much work behind the scenes over the past two years, I’m delighted to say that the UK’s first Newton Room will open next week at North Highland College UHI in Thurso. I’ve previously described how Newton Rooms are intended to provide inspirational learning opportunities for school pupils and the wider public, based on a model that has been extremely successful throughout Norway and in wider Scandinavian countries. To celebrate the opening of the room project leads from the Highlands and Islands Science Skills Academy will be running a public drop-in event from 4pm-6pm on Monday 25th March – anyone interested in a first look at the facility should go to reception at North Highland College UHI.
Both Caithness Transport Forum and the Wick John O’ Groats Airport Consultative Committee met last week. The CTF heard an encouraging update on work being commenced on the A9 at Berriedale Braes, whilst members of the Wick JOG ACC expressed frustration at the unexpected reduction in opening hours at the airport, which it was felt would have a detrimental effect on the overall operation of the airport as an economic asset. Both groups are managed by Caithness Chamber of Commerce, with financial support from Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd and Highland Council. https://www.caithnesschamber.com/projects/caithness-transport-forum
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: