Orkney Business Festival: ‘Going Green’

Orkney Business FestivalOrkney’s hydrogen research was one of several projects highlighted last week at the Business Festival held in the Pickaquoy Centre.

In a workshop on ‘Renewables and Sustainability’ the audience heard from a variety of presenters engaged in this world renowned sector in Orkney.

Richard Ainsworth is a Hydrogen Project Specialist at EMEC (European Marine and Energy Centre).

He outlined Orkney’s initial project, Surf N’ Turf on the island of Eday. He then went onto describe The Big Hit project which features the island of Shapinsay.

Research into the potential use of hydrogen has seen a growth in investment from 2016 at £3million and 2020 at £20+million (9 projects) to 2022 with a transition off project funding to becoming commercial.

Adele Liddledale, Hydrogen Project Officer at Orkney Islands Council delivered advice to businesses in how they can make their organisation ‘greener’.

Orkney is still reliant on fossil fuels like oil heating despite producing over 100% of its energy needs through renewables (mainly wind). The islands also have shocking levels of fuel poverty.

The renewables sector is worth a lot to Orkney’s economy with 150 FTE (full time equivalent) jobs and an estimated £65million in economic benefits to 2040.

There are 500 households with micro wind turbines and 400 homes have installed solar/heat pumps. It has a very high ownership of electric vehicles (EVs) now said to number 250+.

Adele Liddlerdale said that the advantages to a business going ‘green’ are that it would not only reduce business costs but accessing the grant schemes available could give it a competitive advantage.

The workshop also heard more about The ReFLEX project which we have reported on previously in The Orkney News. Innovative ReFLEX Project Moves Onto Phase 2. 


The Q & A after the presentations threw up a few questions including one related to ReFLEX setting up its own Orcadian Electricity supply company. The answer is that it is under consideration as a partnership with one of the Big 6.

Orkney Business Festival Energy

Reporters: Fiona Grahame and Nick Morrison

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