Renewable energy and Iceland

Geotermisk område på Island
Geotermisk område ved Krysuvik, Reykjanes Halvø, Island Foto: Yadid Levy / Norden.org

Why is Iceland taking part in GREBE project?

During the course of the 20th century, Iceland went from one of Europe’s poorest countries, dependent upon peat and imported coal for its energy, to a country with a high standard of living where practically all stationary energy is derived from renewable resources. In 2014, roughly 85% of primary energy use in Iceland came from indigenous renewable resources. Thereof 66% was from geothermal sources.

Icelands unique geology allows it to produce renewable energy relatively cheaply, from a variety of sources. Iceland is located on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which makes it one of the most tectonically active places in the world. There are over 200 volcanoes located in Iceland and over 600 hot springs.  There are over 20 high-temperature steam fields that are at least 150 °C [300 °F]; many of them reach temperatures of 250 °C. This is what allows Iceland to harness geothermal energy and these steam fields are used for everything from heating houses to heating swimming pools. Hydropower is harnessed through glacial rivers and waterfalls, which are both plentiful in Iceland.

Even though Iceland is rich in terms of renewable energy there are regions in Iceland that are dependent on importing energy from others parts of the country.  Most common reason for the energy dependency is that some regions have few options in hydro or are far away from the grid, and regions are based on low geothermal areas.  These areas are often characterized with high mountains and fjords.  It is difficult to maintain the power lines plus it´s expensive.

It is important to Iceland as other countries in the NPA region to develop solutions in RE sector especially because of with dispersed settlements in Iceland, small population and dramatic weather conditions. There is a need for more entrepreneurs and SME´s within RE sector and solutions designed to fit each community based on their specific situation. GREBE project will enable local entrepreneurs and SMEs to grow their business, to provide local jobs, and meet energy demands of local communities. GREBE will support diversification of the technological capacity of SMEs and start-ups so that they can exploit the natural conditions of their locations.  So there is a lot to gain for Iceland as well as other countries within NPA region that the GREBE project delivers valuable results to the communities involved.

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