Orkney has been at the forefront of the renewable energy industry for decades.

Companies here have pioneered developments in wind, wave and tidal power, which is perhaps not surprising, given the abundance of wind, rough coastal waters and the strength of currents in the Pentland Firth.

And, while the islands are home to many new technologies, others have been developing for generations. Just in the last 12 months, here in Orkney, we’ve seen the arrival of a tidal turbine dubbed the world’s most powerful, the first hybrid-electric aircraft in Scotland to take to the skies, mail being delivered by a drone, and a hydrogen-powered ferry design being revealed.

Ground-breaking projects involving hydrogen have also been on the go for some time now, furthering the reduction of the islands’ carbon footprint, and helping pave the way towards net-zero. These developments are the building blocks of a green hydrogen economy, helping to power ferries, and a fleet of Orkney Islands Council vans. 

From a modern industry to one that is long established — Orkney has been farmed for some 5,000 years — and beef farming is a major part of the local economy. Indeed, the county is home to the most dense population of beef cattle in Europe, and the largest dairy north of Stirling.

From the land to the sea, Orkney waters bring valuable employment opportunities to communities in the county, and supplies prime seafood to tables around the world. There are well over 100 registered fishing vessels in Orkney, and over 300 people are employed in the industry.

Orkney is also associated with a strong craft industry, and is home to a number of world-recognised jewellers, who you can learn about in detail in this year’s magazine.

Our tourism and hospitality industries are also big business in Orkney, as people flock to the isles for a taste of island life. An industry which has boomed in recent years, leading to an influx of ships and thousands of visitors to the islands, is cruise liners. Following two challenging years, due to the coronavirus pandemic, over 200 ships are currently booked to call into Orkney in 2022.

Below, you will find links to some key local information, including the local authority, marine services, property surveyors and national tourist information.