Energy & Business services:
• As I started to say in last week’s update (but didn’t finish!) it was good to see the installations of pontoons in Wick’s Inner Harbour progressing, as part of the construction phase of the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm project. Also the project continues to hit its offshore construction milestones, with the installation of the first Offshore Transformer Module, and further laying of cabling between turbine jackets. Anyone driving the A9 trunk road between Wick and Helmsdale should get excellent views of the many distinctive turbine jackets now installed off the coast, waiting for the first turbines.
• I mentioned recently that HITRANS (the regional transport authority for the Highlands and islands) had commissioned some work on the potential for an overnight sleeper service between Caithness and the central belt. The presentation delivered to the HITRANS Board (with the title “Midnight Train to Georgemas”) is now available to view at https://hitrans.org.uk/Meetings/Rail_Stakeholder_Engagement/2018/29_January_2018
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:
• The Sutherland County Committee of the Highland Council met this week, and heard an update from Roy Kirk of CNSRP partner Highlands and Islands Enterprise on progress with investigation work into the potential for launching small scale satellites from a site on the Moine, west of Tongue in North Sutherland, which gave local members the opportunity to ask about the proposed launch facility and the potential economic benefit to the north area as the UK Space Agency considers awarding funding to projects that are part of its call for proposals to develop low cost access to space from the UK . As I have previously mentioned, the project is one of the opportunities being investigated on the 2017-2020 CNSRP programme. https://www.highland.gov.uk/news/article/10847/potential_satellite_vertical_launch_centre_site_for_sutherland
• It was great to take part in the first #highlandshour social media event last night. The Twitter hashtag drew businesses and organisations from across the Highlands, and it was particularly good to see such a keen interest in developing links across the area. You can join the conversation every Thursday night at 9pm on twitter by following the #highlandshour hashtag.
• The latest issue of Energy North, the supplement produced by Scottish Provincial Press and issued with many of the local newspapers in the Highlands, is now available to read online – particularly striking this month is an interview with Willie Watt, Chair of Wick Harbour Authority, in which he paints a compelling picture of the creation of the world’s first industrial estate 200 years ago around Wick harbour, through to its current renaissance as offshore wind takes off. http://edition.pagesuite-professional.co.uk/html5/reader/production/default.aspx?pubname=&edid=b0b24e6e-abcc-47f5-be97-24b9918cc2a1