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Global Energy boss launches bid to become SNP's Easter Ross and Far North Westminster candidate

By Scott Maclennan

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Steve Chisholm has entered the race to become the prospective SNP MP for the far north. Picture: James Mackenzie.
Steve Chisholm has entered the race to become the prospective SNP MP for the far north. Picture: James Mackenzie.

One of the leading figures behind delivering the freeport for the Highlands hopes his background in renewable energy will help power his way through the SNP selection process to face MP Jamie Stone in the Westminster election.

Steve Chisholm – currently operations and innovation director at Global Energy Group – wants to challenge the veteran Liberal Democrat for the newly redrawn Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross seat.

He said he has been a lifelong supporter of Scottish Independence since helping his father campaign for the party as a boy but only became a card carrying member after the 2014 referendum “probably one of the saddest days in my life.”

Speaking exclusively to the Ross-shire Journal, Mr Chisholm said that his bid for a seat in Westminster will rely partly on how the Highlands can develop itself into a renewable energy powerhouse but more importantly he wants to listen to people.

He said: “I think one of the things that I've learnt in business and particularly with the work we've been doing on the freeport in the last few years is that you need to listen, you need to sit down with people and listen.

“That is to really get an understanding of what their issues are because really only when you understand the reality of those issues and how they're affecting people, can you then think and consult with others and collectively come up with valid opportunities to improve their position.”

In addressing himself to the challenges of depopulation, employment and lack of investment, he argues that the freeport will be key to development fanning out across the rest of the Highlands.

“It's not just that it's something that's going to benefit the Cromarty Firth,” he said. “If you think of it as like a wheel with the hub and spokes – the benefits of that is going to attract job opportunities and supplies across the whole Highlands beyond.

“The scale of the opportunity is so big that it is going to take all these places, all these potential businesses here and those yet to come and invest, to actually supply the demand that it is going to create.”

He continued: “What we've learnt in these last few years is that there are policies and decisions made, which will affect the rate and the pace of which our renewables and energy sector builds out.

“And if we're serious about net, zero and having energy security, this part of the world needs to play a major part in it but many of the policies that are the levers and that can help enable that development are decided and determined down in Westminster.

“So I think taking that knowledge and experience in being, not just a loud but a knowledgeable voice about those matters into the Highlands puts me in a good position – a candidate who can make a difference.”

But he will not run unchallenged as he will be up against Lucy Beattie from Leckmelm near Ullapool.

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