More than anything has the recent history of Meløy been shaped by the industry in Glomfjord. It began in 1912, when Fykanfossen, far within the Glomfjord, was bought in order to be used as a source of power for industry. In the course of the following 25 years, several kinds of enterprises were given a try, all in all more or less successfully.
When war hit Norway in 1940, Haugvik Fabrikker was producing aluminium in Glomfjord. On behalf of Nordag company, the German occupying force took over the facility, which from then on produced for the German aircraft industry. This came to a sudden end in September 1942, when a couple of soldiers of the raid commando “Operation Musketoon” (Norwegian: Muskedunder) of the Allies sabotaged the power plant on Fykan. Seven of the soldiers were arrested early in the morning after the raid, and a month later, they were executed in Sachsenhausen near Berlin. They were the very first to fall victim to Hitler’s Commando Order.
The post-war years rank as the big Hydro era in Glomfjord and Meløy. In 1947, Norsk Hydro took over the factory, and started a fertilizer production. Lots of Meløy’s inhabitants found employment there, with the prospect of keeping it for at least the next fifty years.
Ørnes, which from 1952 on had been serving as municipal administration center, underwent big changes as well in the course of the 20th century. The old trading center, which previously had been the natural center of Ørnes, lost more and more of its former importance, while a modern infrastructure was gradually being established. The ferry terminal and roads were built, and lots of various additions provided the base for a further development of the place.
Today, Ørnes is a small place with about 1900 inhabitants. The Hydro era in Glomfjord is over, and by now, a number of companies have taken over the industrial estate. One of them is REC, which produce solar cells.