Energy & Business Services
Following mention in last week’s blog about current activity at the Forss Business & Technology Park, it is good to see the coverage in today’s (Friday’s) press about the partnership between Abbey Ecosse and Enercon, which will see Enercon establishing a service base at Forss for its operations and maintenance personnel in the north. This is one of several developments being worked on for the Park, and new jobs are likely to result from this.
Good to see that Scottish & Southern Energy Power Distribution (under its Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission company name) continues to make progress with several major projects in the north. The major Caithness-Moray link has seen earthworks and associated activities at the site of the AC substation at Spittal. As mentioned last week Tier 1 contractor Balfour Beatty is making use of local facilities at the Forss Business & Technology Park during its contract. Work is also going on to test directional drilling, and enabling works along the route of the land cabling have started. Two line reinforcements are also being worked on as part of the Grid enhancements. The Dounreay-Mybster reinforcement will see the replacement of a 132kV line with a 275kV line, via a new substation just south of Thurso. Enabling works for the new substation started in March. A new line will also be built from the new substation at Thurso to a new substation planned for Gills Bay. The route for this line is still being planned, and design work on the proposed substation in the Gills Bay area has started. Both reinforcements are scheduled for completion in 2018/19.
Energy North is holding its “Caithness Showcase” event next Tuesday (26th May) in Wick. Speakers from Subsea 7, SSE and ABB will be present, and there will be an opportunity for local supply chain companies to network and pitch for business. The event will be £50 plus VAT for EN members, £80 plus VAT for non-members: details and bookings are at http://energynorth.co.uk/Events/150529-Caithness-Showcase-Event.aspx
Tourism, Food & Drink
Congratulations to Caithness Horizons, following confirmation of a further three years of Museum Accreditation status from Museums Galleries Scotland. The museum is also accredited as a five-star Visitor Attraction by VisitScotland, and last weekend’s UK-wide Festival of Museums programme saw the official opening of the new DMT Reactor exhibition at Caithness Horizons, featuring full-scale reactor control room exhibit. For more photos see the CH Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/CaithnessHorizons
Castletown Heritage Society has announced an innovative new tourism project entitled “A window on the hidden bronze age landscape of Caithness”. The project is in partnership with AOC Archaeology, and will use LiDAR technology to produce 3D maps of archaeological sites in Caithness, which will then be used as part of a digital installation at Castlehill Heritage Centre. The project is part funded by the Caithness & North Sutherland Fund, which was established to distribute a £4M funding package provided by CNSRP partner the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority as a result of the low-level waste facility built near Dounreay. http://www.aocarchaeology.com/bronzeagecaithness/
This week has been Scottish Apprenticeship week, and Scottish Government has announced further funding support for Modern Apprenticeships, and for the developing concept of Foundation Apprenticeships, which will see work-based opportunities for young people in senior phase of Secondary Schools. North Highland College is currently leading a project on the CNSRP programme that aims to establish foundation, community and advanced apprenticeships in the north, and has already seen success in developing its Engineering Apprenticeship model. Caithness Chamber of Commerce is also working on a proposal to Scottish Government under its “investing in young people” programme. Further information on Modern Apprenticeships and Scottish Apprenticeship Week is at the website of CNSRP partner Skills Development Scotland at http://www.skillsdevelopmentscotland.co.uk/
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: