Iceland-geothermal powerhouse for the EU?


Iceland is doing a feasibility study into building a 1160 kilometre power cable to Scotland to take as much as 18 terawatt hours of geothermal and hydro power a year. That’s enough for about 5 million homes in Europe. This power cable would be the longest of its type ever built and would help the EU to reach its target of 20% clean energy by 2020.

You will remember Iceland from last year’s volcano spewing ash across Europe, grounding flights across Europe and causing aviation nightmares around the world. 

Iceland is trying to get back on its feet after Europe’s worst financial crisis of the century and its own 2008 banking collapses left it in dire straits. In 2007 Iceland ranked as the fifth richest per capita in the world. But the 2008 crisis meant the krona plummeted 80% against the Euro offshore. Iceland lives with earthquakes and volcanic activity and is now trying to monetise that activity and become a major source of geothermal power for Europe. 

Landsvirkjun, a state owned utility that produces more than 75% of Iceland’s electricity, is driving the feasibility study for the $2.1 billion power cable project. The Icelandic government considers that 75% of Iceland’s potential energy is undeveloped and that only about 39% of the available geothermal energy is currently used to make electricity.

Iceland has not been a major player in the energy business until now, and this new drive to become supplier of clean energy to Europe comes at the same time as Norway and Denmark are looking to increase their supply of renewable energy to the continent.

The people of Iceland suffered hugely from the frenetic and crazy activities of the financial dealings that lead to the banking collapses of 2008. This path as supplier of renewable energy looks way more sensible.


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  • Posted on March 18, 2011. Listed in:

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