Hatston terminal is Orkneys largest commercial pier and Scotland's longest deep-water commercial berth


The Orkney islands are at the forefront of Scotland's renewables industry.

About Orkney

Orkney is made up of around 70 islands clustered where the North Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean, and fewer than half are inhabited. Yet the islands’ geography positions them at the frontline of Scotland’s renewables industry. The European Marine Energy Centre leads research and development in wave and tidal prototype testing. Wind turbines create energy for island traffic, and plans for island ferries to run on hydrogen power are on the horizon.

Internationally renowned as home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site, these islands and their people harness thousands of years of vibrant heritage and nature.

Every year, the population of over 22,000 swells as thousands more visitors from the UK and beyond explore Orkney’s past and present, soaking up ancient history and contemporary culture, craft and sampling the islands’ abundant locally-produced food and drink.

Orkney’s produce, and not just its reputation, has a global reach. The fruits of its food and drink industry - everything from ice cream and shellfish to whisky and beer - feature on dinner tables around the world. Designers, artists and jewellery-makers make handcrafted Scottish, Celtic and Nordic pieces, ensuring that thousands of visitors can enjoy a piece of these unique islands’ charms long after they’ve gone.

Neolithic villages, Viking runes, ancient stone circles and prehistoric graves. Orkney may lie just six miles from the UK mainland, but much of this remarkable archipelago’s celebrated appeal is rooted in another world. 

About Orkney




value of visitors to economy


modern apprentices in training


islands, 20 inhabited

Orbital turbine, t-shaped with large orange blades at the front in the dark ocean offshore of Orkney

Orkney economy

Orkney is a unique economy in Scotland with many significant economic strengths. Its rich natural resources are set to play a pivitol part in the country’s move towards net zero.

Agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture

There is a traditional reliance on agriculture and fishing, evident whilst travelling through the local countryside. The fertile, high-quality farmlands and grasslands supports Orkney beef and lamb, as well as a number of dairy herds.

Fishing and aquaculture support around 90 local businesses – around 5% of the economy in the islands. And fish farms installed around the islands thriving in the clean, fresh waters are contributing to the growing aquaculture sector.

Renewable energy

Orkney has outstanding natural resources for renewable energy and around 300 people are employed in the sector. The islands have more than 650 turbines, over 400 solar installations and multiple experimental wave and tidal devices generating power, producing well above their need at around 130%. 

Oil and gas

Oil and gas have been a mainstay of the Orkney economy since the 1970s with the establishment of the Flotta oil terminal. Whilst the outputs are much smaller today, there’s work afoot to diversify within the industry with deep water berths - ideal for decommissioning work and support vessel services - being considered.

Creative industries

From cottage industries to large-scale businesses, the creative community is a mainstay in the Orkney economy with many drawing inspiration from the island landscapes, traditional culture and rich history of the area.

More about the Orkney economy


Live and work in Orkney

It’s widely known that Orkney is an ideal holiday location but it’s an even better place to call home. With an enviable work/life balance, the islands consistently come out top in national lifestyle and happiness polls. Many of the communities may be small but they’re vibrant, open and welcoming to people from all over the world.

Orkney has a world-leading marine renewables, energy and low carbon sector, as well as a thriving innovation and entrepreneurial community amidst a stunning natural environment.  

More about living and working in Orkney

Study in Orkney

The opportunities to study in Orkney are far from limited. Whether you live here or are planning to locate here for a course, the study options are unlike anywhere else. There’s a great range of educational opportunities at all levels whether you’re a school lever, graduate or mature student.

More about studying in Orkney


Community-led social and economic development is key to success in many of our areas.

One of the great examples of community development in action across Orkney is the Westray Development Trust. Their community wind turbine supports a wide range of community group projects which touch every aspect of island life.

Clubs and groups, facilities, services - all helping meet local needs and maintaining a fantastic quality of life for the residents.

Find out more about the island, and the Westray Development Trust in our film.

Read about some of the other organisations we're working with in Orkney in our knowledge library. 

Case studies 

Woman in the middle of two crafted clear bottles of gin


Want to know a bit more about Orkney from the people who live there? Visit the local orkney.com website. It's got information for tourists and those planning to make the islands their home.

Go to orkney.com


We're working with partners to develop the Orkney Research and Innovation Campus (ORIC). The campus supports the growing research and innovation activity and the expansion of companies working in Orkney’s world-leading marine renewables, energy and low carbon sector.

Go to Orkney Campus

We actively encourage talented people, such as software developers or data engineers, who are based and working elsewhere to move here to Orkney. And that’s where the support of HIE, SDI and GlobalScot is helping to raise our business profile.
Raymond Pennie, Co-founder, Kyloe

Read More

Related content

Find out more about other areas in our region

Outer Hebrides

Supporting businesses, communities and investors in the Outer Hebrides.


Supporting businesses, communities and investors in Moray.

Contact us

Please get in touch if you need our help or would like to discuss working with us.


Sign up for all the latest news, information on investments and development opportunities from across our region.