03 Aug Highland Tourism CIC announces world-first in renewables partnership
Highland Tourism Community Interest Company (HTCIC) has announced the launch of a new partnership with the renewables sector with the creation of Highland Renewables. Business leaders from the renewable energy and tourism sectors attended the launch event on Thursday, 3 August, at Inverness Town House from 9am-11am. The event was hosted by Kate Forbes MSP in what was her first official engagement as an HTCIC Ambassador.
The new group, Highland Renewables, brings together two key economic sectors of the Highlands to create a synergetic relationship that will benefit people living and working in the region and communities. Highland Renewables founding partners are GreenPower, BayWa r.e. and Low Carbon.
Left to right: Sam Faircliff (Cairngorm Brewery and Highland Tourism CIC), George Baxter (GreenPower and Highland Tourism CIC), Kate Forbes (MSP), Yvonne Crook (Highland Tourism CIC Chair), Fiona Larg (Highland Tourism CIC Company Secretary) and Willie Cameron (Cobbs Group and Highland Tourism CIC).
Picture: Trevor Martin
In a world first, renewables and tourism have come together to form a mutually beneficial partnership that will work to address the climate emergency and help attract a new generation of tourists seeking more sustainable destinations. Highland Renewables will also reinforce the position of the renewables industry as a dynamic contributor to the wider Highland economy and look for more collaborative and integrated thinking that is good for the environment, the economy, and the region as a whole.
Yvonne Crook, Chair of Highland Tourism CIC said: “We are delighted to welcome Highland Renewables as a strategic partner. Renewable energy projects invest millions of pounds into the Highlands and Islands region, and it is important that we continue to develop relationships between the tourism and renewables sectors in order to realise the great potential they both offer. We all have to work and live in the Highlands. Collaborative working and increasing investment aligned to developing the Highlands as a premium destination with significant investment in our environment will ensure a more sustainable future. The launch of Highland Renewables is a major milestone in achieving this goal.
“Highland Tourism and Highland Renewables ambassadors have a vision for a brilliant way of doing business – bringing people, communities, and businesses together to create opportunities, break down siloes and address challenges, and ultimately, to work collaboratively towards a bright, sustainable future for the region.”
Kate Forbes MSP, said: “I warmly welcome the launch of the Highland Renewables partnership. The key aims are very exciting.
“The need to transition to net zero presents Highland communities with considerable economic and environmental opportunities. We have great natural resources and enterprising communities. There is a unique opportunity to marry the opportunities of tourism and energy through this partnership.”
Stuart Davidson, Head of Wind Development at BayWa r.e. UK Ltd., said: “We are delighted to join Highland Renewables. As we at BayWa r.e. progress the development of our Corriegarth 2 Wind Farm project near Gorthleck, we are committed to supporting the Highlands and its unique tourism industry. Renewable energy projects bring a host of benefits to local economies, and we are extremely excited to see the renewables sector contributing so positively towards the visitor experience of the Highlands and its beautiful scenery, rich history and second-to-none recreational opportunities.”
Sam Greer, Stakeholder Manager at Low Carbon said: “The Highlands have fantastic natural resources and rightly attract significant tourism with a wonderful mix of sightseeing and outdoor activities. My belief is that tourism and renewable energy generation can very naturally flourish in a symbiotic relationship. Low Carbon are proud to be a founding partner of Highland Renewables, and we are excited to play a role in supporting the development of the strategies to ensure the Highland communities truly benefit in terms of creating a positive impact and legacy.
“Tourism is a major sector which provides high levels of employment and provides further growth opportunities, as do green energy careers; keeping our young people and skills in the Highlands.”
George Baxter, Director of Development at GreenPower and Director of Highland Tourism said: “GreenPower is delighted to be a founding partner of Highland Renewables. For many years it has been glaringly obvious that with so much opportunity to create green energy and tackle the climate crisis from the Highlands, there is a need for renewable energy companies to collaborate and work together for the common good. Working with the tourism sector to make a difference and demonstrate that the two sectors can continue to thrive and do bigger and bolder things is a no-brainer.”
There are 150 Ambassadors in Highland Tourism CIC with a board of directors comprising leaders with a wealth of economic development experience and leading tourism businesses in the region, such as Cabot Highlands and Nevis Range. Already there are ten Highland Renewables Ambassadors, with that number set to grow.
Since its inception in March 2021, Highland Tourism CIC has 150 ambassadors and is working in partnership with 16 communities and a range of public sector partners. The CIC has had private sector investment to the value of £400,000, of which £150,000 comes from founding sponsorship from Tomatin Distillery.