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Public invited to annual marine energy event

9th November 2013

Residents are invited to a public Information Day at Caithness Horizons, Thurso, on Monday 18 November from 4pm - 7pm to hear the latest news on the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters wave and tidal energy projects. The projects are among the first commercial-scale marine renewable energy schemes in the world and are located within the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters Marine Energy Park.

The event will provide an opportunity to hear about progress with project developments, give comments and views, ask questions and meet a number of organisations involved. This is the fourth year of the annual events in Thurso and Kirkwall, which have attracted hundreds of visitors to date.

Twelve project sites are in development with work covering surveying, environmental impact assessments and engineering design. The project developers are also being supported by a number of organisations:

The Highland Council is promoting local economic benefits through its North Highland Onshore Vision programme, and will provide information on the collaborative PFOW Marine Spatial Plan project and emerging Caithness and Sutherland Local Development Plan. The local authority is also working together with Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) to upgrade local ports.
HIE and Scottish Enterprise are promoting economic development from the projects, seeking to maximise local content.
The Crown Estate is working closely with developers to accelerate and de-risk the development process, investing 5.7 million in a range of activities covering data collection, ecological studies, infrastructure assessments and more.
The Scottish Government (Marine Scotland) is preparing to assess applications for the schemes, undertaking research with a range of local stakeholders.
Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission (SHETL) and National Grid are planning and designing new electrical infrastructure, to enable the projects to be connected to the grid.

These organisations, together with the trade association Scottish Renewables, collectively form the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters Leadership Forum (PFOWLF), a group established to ensure effective and efficient delivery of the projects over this decade.

The event is being hosted by the PFOWLF, whose members will be hosting exhibition stands and will be on hand for discussion and to answer questions. There will also be staff from project development companies, the Orkney-based European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) and other organisations.

Councillor Deirdre Mackay, Leader of the Caithness and Sutherland Area Committee of The Highland Council, said: We are delighted to support this event as it is another chance for local people to keep up to date with progress on the marine projects off our coastline and ensure they are in a position to seize related economic opportunities when they arise.

It is hoped that members of the public will take this opportunity to meet key players in the development of this growing industry and to find out more about progress with the projects and the significant potential for the local economy.

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