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Council Takes Over Control Of Caithness Heat and Power

2nd August 2008

The Highland Council has agreed to assume control of Caithness Heat and Power Ltd - an innovative wood-fired combined heat and power enterprise, at Pulteneytown, Wick. The Council has been a major funder of the company since it was set up in December 2004 and has stepped in with decisive action in an attempt to ensure a sustainable future for the pioneering operation.

Six councillors will form the new board of the company, which will be supported by senior officers of the Council.

The existing three directors of the company - representatives of the Council, Inver House Distillers Ltd and the Pulteneytown People's Project - have stood down and fully support the new management arrangements.

The decision to assume control of the company was taken at a meeting of the Council on Friday.

Councillors were advised that the Council committed 1.6 million to the company to connect 500 council houses to the district heating system, which is provided by the company to alleviate fuel poverty. To date, 240 local houses, including 164 council homes, benefit from heat and hot water from the system.

Council intervention has been necessary because of delays in commissioning the plant which can now be re-energised with the Council's support.

Convener Sandy Park said: "Having considered all the issues, we have unanimously agreed to assume control of the company. We have consulted with the current directors and all are agreed this is the best way forward. This will require the Council providing operational and development funding and clearly a priority is to ensure that we maintain a supply of heat and hot water to the neighbouring homes. The Council is obviously keen to support sustainable approaches to energy production in the Highlands, particularly in areas vulnerable to fuel poverty."


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