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Weekly update, 15th February

Energy & Business Services:

It was good to speak last week with Magnus Davidson of Thurso’s Environmental Research Institute (ERI) about the transnational EU-funded project called REGINA. The project aims to reduce the vulnerability of small communities in remoter areas of the Nordic Arctic and Scotland which face the development – or closing down of – large-scale industries. North Highland College is the Scottish partner, and Caithness/ North Sutherland provides an ideal focal point, with the decommissioning at Dounreay happening in parallel with opportunities from the renewables sector (particularly offshore wind and tidal stream).

Good to see a further update today (Friday) from Atlantis Resources on the MeyGen tidal energy project in the Inner Sound of the Pentland Firth. The MeyGen Newsletter provides a very comprehensive progress update on ground works at Ness of Quoys, as well as grid connections and turbine technology updates from both Atlantis and Andritz Hammerfest. The work being done by JGC Engineering Services features in the update, as it also did in the CNSRP Annual Review, which was published at the start of this month (see Communications below).

Enabling Activities:

Work continues on the multi-million pound “Flows to the Future” development at Forsinard. Thurso-based O’Brien Construction is currently building the £1.9M Field Centre which will provide accommodation and research facilities for international research students as well as schools and university groups. The project is co-ordinated by the Peatlands Partnership, and has already delivered a new Observatory at Forsinard, also built by O’Brien Construction. It was also good to catch up today (Friday) in Bettyhill with Fiona Mackenzie and Frances Gunn from Strathnaver Museum and to hear some of the ambitious plans for the museum as a community and cultural hub.


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:

  • Good to see that the publication of the CNSRP 2015 Annual Review continues to attract coverage in local and regional media. I was able to do a short piece on BBC Highland News this week with reporter Kevin Mackenzie, focusing on the progress to date, and looking at our projections for the next 15 years. It has also been good to get positive feedback from local people who have received copies of the report.  An electronic copy of the Annual Review is available to download at