Energy/ Business Services:
Members of the Partnership met this week with representatives of Global Energy Group and the Nigg Skills Academy as we continue to develop proposals to ensure that our area workforce is prepared to take advantage of future employment opportunities. Whilst the Caithness Chamber of Commerce-led “Make The Right Connections” programme has been helping to support diversification efforts in a range of sectors, there are a number of very useful lessons from the Nigg model that will help inform decisions by partners. I also met this week with Job Centre Plus, Skills Development Scotand, North Highland College and Caithness Chamber to discuss in more detail what such a programme could deliver in Caithness & North Sutherland.
Good to see local coverage of the ongoing plans of Calder Engineering, who have recently secured further work in support of the development of the “Oyster” wave device from Aquamarine Power. Aquamarine Power is one of four companies competing for the Scottish Government’s “Saltire Prize”, aiming to use a wave power site off the coast of Lewis. The other three competing sites and developers are Inner Sound of the Pentland Firth (Meygen Ltd); Farr Point (Pelamis Wave Power); and Ness of Duncansby (Scottish Power Renewables). I made the point this week in answer to questions at the Caithness & Sutherland Area Committee meeting (see “Communications” below) that an important reason for Scotrenewables’ recent use of Scrabster for maintenance on its tidal energy device was that there is a skilled and accessible supply chain in Caithness.
Highland Council has this week launched a “Call for Sites and Ideas” to help inform the forthcoming Caithness & Sutherland Local Development Plan. The work will build on the process started by the North Highland Call for Sites (http://www.highland.gov.uk/NR/rdonlyres/16097D6E-F1BE-4727-BE60-BFCD2FA235DC/0/SiteReports9mb.pdf) and Charrette events held in Wick and Thurso earlier this year. More information and a submissions form are at http://www.highland.gov.uk/yourenvironment/planning/developmentplans/caithsuthlocaldevplan.htm
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: