Observing the world of renewable energy and sustainable living

Iceland as a Potentional Renewable Energy Exporter


Iceland has a lot of vulcanic activity as a consequence of its location on top of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge:


Iceland has a population of merely 326,000 people, living in a mostly uninhabited mountainous area of 103,000 km2. The mountain and vulcanic activity are interesting from an energy point of view: potential for hydro power and storage (larger than mountainous Italy or Spain), as well as geothermal energy (hot water), providing for 85% of the domestic energy needs. The rest comes from imported oil for transport. Iceland has quite a large hydrogen production capacity used in cars. Since 2012 Iceland is in talks with the UK about constructing a cable for transmission of electricity between the two countries. Electricity prices in Iceland and UK are 9 and 20 dollar cent/kwh resp., which offers potential for export from Iceland to the UK and the rest of Europe. Most potential for hydro power and geothermal energy has not been developed; the Icelanders are already by far the biggest energy consumers on the planet:

Translating over-all energy use (oil, gas, coal, nuclear, renewable) into kg oil equivalent/capita you get, according to the Worldbank:

Iceland 16,905
Canada 7,474
US 7,056
Russia 4,559
Germany 3,825
Ukraine 2,485
China 1,717
Senegal 260

So, how much potential does Iceland have to offer?

[Deutsche Welle] – Icelandic power export plans still a pipe dream
[] – Iceland Looks to Export Power Bubbling From Below
[] – Power under the sea
[] – Energy in Iceland
[] – In Iceland, Geothermal Energy is “Use or Lose It”
[] – Iceland’s volcanoes may power UK
[] – Icelandic hydroelectric power stations
[] – Hydro Power
Iceland’s precipitation combined with extensive highlands, has an enormous energy potential or up to 220 TWh/yr. Of the primary energy consumption in Iceland, in 2008, 20% was generated from hydropower. The total electricity production was in 2008, 12,5 TWh from hydro.

[] – Development of a methodology for estimation of Technical Hydropower potential in Iceland using high resolution Hydrological Modeling

Calculations were performed with this new method and results presented at an industry conference in 1981 (Tómasson, 1981). The calculations showed that total hydropower potential from precipitation was 252 TWh/yr, where the greatest potential was in the south-east, part of Iceland which has extensive glacial coverage and the least potential in the northern- and western part with less precipitation and lower elevation.



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