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    Event highlights opportunities in marine energy

    News // March 29, 2011

    Businesses will have the chance to learn more about the marine energy opportunities for the Orkney and Pentland Firth waters in the UK at an event in Caithness on Tuesday 5 April.

    Organised jointly by North Scotland Industries Group (NSIG), Caithness Chamber of Commerce, Orkney Islands Council, The Crown Estate and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), the event is open to members and non-members and will be held at North Highland College, Thurso from 10am to 4.30pm. John Thurso MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross will be the keynote speaker.

    The event will include a seminar on potential business co-operation, a share fair to allow businesses to promote their own services, important update presentations from Crown Estate and HIE, and networking focussed on marine energy developments and supply chain opportunities. Attendees will also receive a tour of the newly extended North Highland College and an update on available services related to energy prospects in the area.

    NSIG chief executive, Ian Couper said: “This event will be the first in a series of annual events alternating between Caithness and Orkney. There is still a lot of uncertainty and lack of information for the future supply chain in these areas with regard to an industry that will undoubtedly be of great benefit to Orkney and Caithness in the years to come. This event is designed to provide annual updates as events move on and timescales change. All the co-ordinators agree that we need to work together on this to cut down on potential overlapping events that will be discussing the same themes.

    “This event, and those in the following years, will enable potential supply chain businesses to make important business decisions on when, for example, to enter the market, how their business costs might be affected, and when and how to promote their services, indeed, all they need to plan for their future involvement in this energy market.“

    Trudy Morris, chief executive of Caithness Chamber of Commerce, said: “It is extremely important that supply chain businesses are kept informed of opportunities and receive information that then empowers them to make business decisions. There have been many renewable events held over the past year covering the same topics. Our involvement in this event has been driven by the need to give the supply chain new information. With the topics covered and the Crown Estate presenting on its ‘Build out’ story, we believe this event will do just that.”
    Keith Muir, senior development manager at Highlands and Islands Enterprise, said: "HIE, along with our partners, are working very hard to ensure that our local businesses and communities derive the maximum benefit from the development of Renewable Energy in the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters.  We believe that the more our supply chain businesses understand about the developments, the better they will be able to equip themselves to capitalise on the opportunities as they arise."

    Lucy Parsons, Marine Renewables project manager at Orkney Islands Council, said: “Research and development work in Orkney at the European Marine Energy Centre over the years has given businesses substantial experience in this new industry, but not yet at a commercial scale for which joint venture working and long term alliances will be needed.

    The event will be valuable as much for businesses to meet each other, as for the information from PFOW lease option developers. At this early stage in the industry, knowing the timescale on decisions and when information will be available is immensely useful to businesses evaluating this potential industry as a prospect for growth.”

    Anyone who wishes to attend should contact any of the co-ordinators or visit NSIG’s website to book online at http://www.nsig.co.uk/Events/110405-Marine-Energy-Event.aspx

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