Blog & News

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Weekly update, 29th January 2018

Energy & business services:
At this week’s CNSRP Advisory Board meeting (see “communications” below for further details) it was good to hear from Willie Watt of Wick Harbour Authority about further progress with the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm project, with first power from the project now expected to be generated by this summer

Work will continue during 2018 to install all of the jacket substructures for the 84 turbines.

and onshore construction at Wick harbour continuing this week with the arrival of a 300 tonne crane to support construction of pontoons for the crew transfer vessels to be based in the inner harbour. Colleagues from CNSRP partner Highlands and Islands Enterprise’s Energy Team also reported positive noises from this week’s Scottish Renewables Offshore Wind Conferenced, at which the prospect of a “Sector Deal” for offshore wind was highlighted.
Good to see that Scrabster Harbour Trust will be at next week’s Subsea Expo in Aberdeen, promoting the port’s capabilities in the sector. It is billed as the world’s largest annual subsea exhibition and conference, and attracts over 5,000 delegates (including international delegates from countries such as India, Japan and Ghana), around 150 exhibitors and around 100 speakers each year. SHT kindly offered to carry wider marketing material for our area on the Scrabster stand, and we were happy to help with some leaflets and display material.

Enabling activities:
This week sees the launch of the latest round of the Scottish Edge competition, which aims to “identify and support Scotland’s up-and-coming, innovative, high-growth potential entrepreneurial talent”. The competition offers the opportunity for entrepreneurs and start-up businesses to attract up to £150,000 plus additional support. Advisors such as Ali Murray of Atlantic Marketing have been particularly successful in supporting previous bids from the Highlands. The closing date for entries is 7th March 2018, and more information can be found at

As local CNSRP partners make preparations for the annual “Jobs and How To Get Them” event at Wick High School on Saturday 10th February, and we discuss next steps with our skills investment plan, it is worth taking a look at the major report on the “Workforce of the Future” published by PWC, which takes a look at changes in the types of employment and jobs likely to be seen by 2030. One of the many interesting messages to leaders is “Protect people not jobs. Nurture agility, adaptability and re-skilling.”

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 CNSRP Advisory Board met this week in Thurso. It brings together a range of stakeholders (such as Highland Councillors, Community Councils, Trade Unions, NH College, NHS Highland and the Voluntary sector) to offer comments on the CNSRP programme, and to communicate progress amongst member organisations and the wider community. This week’s meeting focused on my update on progress, and I highlighted in particular work to scope supply chain opportunities in offshore wind, a developing Operations & Maintenance strategy for the MeyGen project, and ongoing work to investigate the potential for satellite launch from a site in North Sutherland. Each of these pieces of work are being co-funded by CNSRP partners HIE and Dounreay (through its Dounreay Socio-economic Board). I was also able to update members on progress with a Skills Investment Plan for Caithness/ North Sutherland. Members were also able to give updates on their own areas of activity, which included news of a fourth successive year of growth at Scrabster Harbour.

The socio-economic subgroup of the Dounreay Stakeholder Group also met this week, and we discussed a range of Dounreay-related activities, including the support from Dounreay partners that has allowed us to continue with several pieces of work on our programme.

It’s well worth reading this blog from Fiona Bruce of Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd, who was shortlisted as “Champion of the Year” in the Women in Nuclear UK Awards. Fiona, who has provided much-appreciated support to CNSRP over the past few years, has been instrumental in the development of the Women’s Network at the Dounreay site, so it’s great to see her being recognised like this.

Scottish Provincial Press last week published the latest edition of its Energy North Supplement, and the publication is now available online. The usual mix of news stories includes an update on the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Project, an innovative study of seabird behaviours around the BOWL and Moray East offshore windfarm sites in the Moray Firth, and further work on the economic benefits of floating offshore wind in Scotland.

Finally – the former Wick High School will be auctioned by Allsop Auctioneers on Thursday 15th February 2018. There are open viewings at the former school on the 6th and 13th of February between 1 and 3pm.