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Weekly Update, 7th February 2011

I brought together several local organisations currently working in the energy and renewable energy sector, along with Caithness Chamber of Commerce,  to discuss the relative value of a more coherent local voice in the energy sector. Recent local comments on the effective roles played by Orkney Renewable Energy Forum and Shetland Renewable Energy Forum prompted the discussion, and we focused on how existing mechanisms might be used to better effect. A number of positive actions came from the meeting, and these will be followed up over the coming days.

I met with colleagues from Highland Council, HIE, Scottish Government and the Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment to discuss final arrangements for an event being held at the Castle of Mey next week. This is a follow-up to an event held at the same venue last August, at which a number of local, regional and national organisations came together with marine energy developers in the presence of HRH the Duke of Rothesay to look at how an onshore planning vision could be created to help enhance the attractiveness of our area to the marine energy industry. Considerable work has taken place since then, so next week will be an opportunity to update people on that progress.

I met with representatives of Pentland Community Enterprises to hear updates on some plans for social enterprise activity in Thurso.

I attended a workshop on wave and tidal energy organised under the joint auspices of the Environmental Research Institute and Heriot Watt University. I also met with a representative from a start-up marine energy technology developer to hear an update on progress with funding and testing.