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Renewable Energy Projects in Caithness Open to General Public

10th June 2009

Renewable Energy Projects in Caithness Open to General Public as part of Scottish Renewables Festival 2009

The Highlands and Islands of Scotland is set to play a major part in the first Scottish Renewables Festival, offering people in the region a unique opportunity to see renewable energy in action this Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 June 2009. A range of events are planned across the Highlands and Islands during the weekend, including a special screening of climate change film The Age of Stupid at Caithness Horizons in Thurso and a unique chance to visit Forss Wind Farm turbines in Caithness.

The festival has been organised by Scottish Renewables, the green energy trade body, with the support of Highlands and Islands Enterprise. A dedicated website has been set up to enable people to see the wide range of events taking place from Shetland to the Solway coast The festival also kicks off UK Wind Week which will see a celebration of wind power across the UK.

There will also be renewable energy related games and giveaways at the Eastgate Shopping Centre in Inverness, with the opportunity for the public to learn more about renewable energy and its impact on the Highlands and Islands.

Anna Allan, Senior Development Manager, of Highlands and Islands Enterprise says: "We're really excited about this event, as it's the first time that something like this has been held in the Highlands and Islands. We're aiming to celebrate the region's achievements in developing renewable energy sources, and give the public a chance to explore the future of renewables in the region.

"We are committed to encouraging the growth and development of the renewable energy sector in order to meet and exceed the targets set by the Scottish and UK Governments. Therefore, increasing public awareness and understanding of renewable energy - and its importance to the region - is vital. The events that are planned throughout the weekend aim to give the public the chance to experience renewables first-hand and ask questions about the projects that are currently underway in the Highlands and Islands."

HIE is also working closely with communities and schools to spread the renewable energy message. To teach children about renewable energy HIE, in conjunction with The Educational Resource Partnership, has created a renewable energy toolkit which includes fun games, activities and factsheets. These have been sent to over 200 schools and will be on display in the Eastgate Shopping Centre so that families can try the games and learn more about wind, marine, hydro, geothermal, solar and biomass energy.

HIE has also launched a primary schools art competition for children in Primary 6 and 7. Pupils from schools across the Highlands and Islands have been tasked with creating their very own renewable energy masterpiece, from artistic drawings and paintings to 3D models.

The shortlisted exhibits will be displayed on the HIE stand in the Eastgate shopping centre during the weekend of the festival.

Anna adds: "We would encourage as many people as possible to get along to one of the events and learn more about renewable energy and the important role it will have in our future energy security and the economic growth of the region."

Jason Ormiston, Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables says, "The Highlands and Islands of Scotland have some of the best renewable energy resources in the world and the engineering talent to match. Festival goers in the Highlands and Islands will be so inspired by what is on show that I am sure they will consider what they and their families can do themselves. The sheer diversity of renewable energy technologies on show means that there should be something for everyone and we would encourage people to see green energy in action on the Scottish Renewables' Festival Weekend."

Confirmed events for the Scottish Renewables Festival include an insight into modern hydro-electricity energy production at Ardchattan Hydro in Argyll on Sunday 14 June from 2.30-5.00pm. Experts from this project will be available throughout the day to help visitors understand how a hydro scheme works. There will also be an opportunity to see planned developments for the wave site at EMEC in Stromness, Orkney during the weekend. Burradale in Shetland will open its doors to visitors on Saturday 13 June from 11.30am-4.00pm, where they can see the world's most productive wind turbine, Betsy.

A special screening of The Age of Stupid will be shown at Caithness Horizons, in Thurso from 2.30-4.00pm and if there is demand, a second showing will be put on from 6.00-7.30pm on Saturday 13 June. Places are limited for the film screening and pre-booking is necessary, to book please contact fiona.macpherson[AT] or call 01847 896806. Bookings must be made prior to Friday 12 June 2009. The documentary style film tells the story of a man living in the devastated future of 2055, looking back at old footage of 2008 and exploring why more wasn't done to stop the impact of climate change.

Renewable Energy Systems (RES) will welcome visitors for a fun filled day of guided tours and childrens' activities at Forss wind farm near Thurso on Saturday 13 June from 11.00am to 4.00pm. Visitors will be able to find out about renewable energy and have the chance to experience wind turbines first hand.

Find out more about biomass installations at Highland Wood Energy in Lochaber on Saturday 13 June from 10.00am - 1.00pm. Biomass installations are available on a household and commercial scale and this event will include tours of a number of biomass boilers in operation with the opportunity to ask the expert. Discover one of the hidden wonders of the Highlands at Ben Cruachan, home to Cruachan Power Station. Inside this massive cavern you will see turbines convert the power of water into electricity. Cruachan Power Station will be open during the weekend from 9.30am - 16.45pm.

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