Blog & News

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Weekly update, 26th January 2015

Energy & Business services:

The offshore renewables industry has been in Aberdeen this week for Scottish Renewables’ Offshore Wind & Supply Chain Conference/ Exhibition. The sector remains of real interest in the north due to the continuing developments with the two Moray Firth offshore windfarm consortiums – Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Ltd (BOWL) and Moray Offshore Renewables Ltd (MORL). Today (Friday) saw the start of the auction process for the UK Government’s first “Contract for Difference” allocation round for renewable energy. Deadline for bids will be 4th February, with winners notified on 26th February. In the meantime CNSRP partners continue to provide support to Wick Harbour Authority as they look at opportunities to attract operations and maintenance work to the area. To coincide with the Aberdeen event Scottish Renewables has produced a publication “Offshore Wind – What You Need to Know” which highlights Wick harbour’s current status as the preferred location for operation and maintenance for the BOWL project. The document is available to view at

Good to see local coverage for Enterprise Engineering Services (EES) as they continue to gain industry accreditation for their facilities in Caithness and Aberdeen. EES took over the operation of Mowat Technical Design Services, which is based at Westerdale in Caithness. The news is welcomed in the John O’ Groat Journal story by Trudy Morris, Chief Executive of Caithness Chamber of Commerce.

Tourism, Food & Drink:

A reminder that CNSRP partner the Highland Council is running a workshop in Wick next week (7th February) for businesses in the food and drink industry who are interested in finding out more about the business benefits of social media (such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn). The event, one of a series being run across the Highland Council area, is supported by the Think Local Community Food Fund, and also aims to create an online Directory of food and drink producers. To find out more and book a place at the Wick workshop please phone 07927055397 and see

Enabling activities:

Following the weather-related postponement of last week’s final workshop in support of the Caithness & Sutherland Local Development Plan, CNSRP partner Highland Council has extended until Friday 6th February the deadline for comments on the Main Issues Report. You can still view the report and submit online comments at

Following last week’s news that most properties in Wick and Thurso (around 6,000) are now able to order Superfast Broadband services, I hear this week the further good news that the remaining street cabinets in both locations are also now able to accept orders.  Also on the theme of connectivity, it is good to see that Dunbeath has been shortlisted in Vodafone’s UK-wide “Sure Signal” programme. Success in the application process would lead to Dunbeath being able to receive 3G voice and data service via mobile technology. Find out more about Vodafone’s Rural Open Sure Signal programme at

DSRL will be holding its annual Suppliers’ Day in the Weigh Inn, Thurso on 26th February. The event is an opportunity for companies to hear about current and forthcoming procurement at Dounreay – to book places at the event see and on a related theme, DSRL will again be running a Graduate Programme, commencing in September 2015. For further details see   


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:

  • I chaired a meeting of the Partnership’s Delivery Group today (Friday) at which we looked at how best to support the delivery of the major projects in our programme. We have worked with partners in the public and private sectors to help develop scopes for these projects, and are now working together to understand how the projects’ plans fit into coming years of activity.
  • Next week sees the launch of the 2015 Apps for Good programme, which has been a source of success and inspiration for students in the north, and at Wick High School in particular. As part of the launch, the Apps created by last year’s Finalists will be launched on the apps market, including the “Chore Attack” app developed by student team from Wick High School. You can glimpse how the app will look at
  • BBC 1’s “The One Show” this week screened a short piece filmed last year regarding the extraordinary measures undertaken to allow the movement of large Towheads through the centre of Wick. Presenter John Sergeant followed the progress of a movement through the town and out to Subsea 7’s Wester site, with interview comments from Willie Watt. The programme is available to view on BBC iPlayer at The Wick coverage is in two short pieces at around 18:30 minutes in and at 37:20 minutes.
  • Good to see two social enterprises in the area benefitting from awards through the Scottish Government’s Climate Challenge Fund. Melness & Tongue Community Development Trust (MTCDT) received an award of around £49,000 to support a programme of energy efficiency advice and public transport awareness-raising. Pentland Housing Association in Caithness received an award of around £39,000 to support its Draft Busters programme of energy efficiency advice.
  • Scottish  Provincial Press published its “Energy North” Supplement with its local newspaper titles today. It contains its usual excellent mix of news and interviews from the sector, including coverage of the start of onshore ground works at the MeyGen site near Gills Bay.