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Weekly update, 27th August 2012

The Scottish Government this week announced the four companies who will compete for the Saltire Prize. The companies are Aquamarine Power, Pelamis Wave Power, Scottish Power Renewables and Meygen.  The £10 million Prize will be won “by the team that achieves the greatest volume of electrical output in Scottish waters over the minimum hurdle of 100GWh over a continuous two-year period, using only the power of the sea.” Three of the four sites being used for the competition are either off the Caithness coast (Meygen in the Inner Sound and Scottish Power Renewables at the Ness of Duncansby) or the North Sutherland coast (Pelamis Wave Power at Farr Point). a statement welcoming the news was issued from the Chairs of CNSRP’s Executive and Delivery Boards, and this is available to view at

First Minister Alex Salmond visited North Highland College to officially open both the Centre for Energy & Environment (CfEE) and the Engineering, Technology & Energy Centre (ETEC). During his visit he highlighted the central role that the area’s facilities will play in the development of the energy sector, and praised the enthusiasm of the new students he met at the ETEC facility. He suggested that any perceptions of the north as peripheral to the Scottish economy were being reversed as major energy sector developments continued.

Staff from Thurso’s Environmental Research Institute (ERI) will be taking part in a mission to Nova Scotia, Canada in September to highlight Scotland’s renewables capabilities to the Canadian government. Professor Stuart Gibb and Jacquie Black will put forward the case for marine energy using examples of progress being made in the Pentland Firth. The mission is supported by the Canadian High Commission to the UK, Scottish Development International and the British High Commission in Canada.

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 Partnership’s Advisory Board met this week, and the meeting was chaired by Cllr Drew Hendry, the Leader of the Highland Council. Cllr Hendry takes over the Chairmanship from Sandy Park who chaired the Advisory Board meetings until the last election in his capacity as Convener. Also attending their first meetings were Cllr Roger Saxon, Bill Baxter, Vice-Chair of Caithness Chamber of Commerce and Seonaig Campbell of Skills Development Scotland. The meeting heard presentations from HIE’s Roy Kirk on HIE’s vision for Caithness & North Sutherland in 2020; from Dounreay’s Alastair MacDonald on the Dounreay Socio-economic Development Plan for 2012-15; and from June Love in her new inward investment role with HIE. Issues covered by members included developments at Wick Airport, tourism and marine energy.
  • The Northern Times carries coverage of Scottish Government Environment Minister Stewart Stevenson’s announcement this week of £105,000 in funding to support the North Coast Energy Efficiency Advice Project. The project is run by the Melness and Tongue Community Development Trust, who also contrbuted ideas on superfast broadband infrastructure on the north coast to this week’s CNSRP Advisory Board