Icelanders divided over energy export plans

geothermal_islandsbanki45Iceland’s population is divided over the country’s plans to export geothermal energy to Europe. The island nation has long had excess amounts of inexpensive geothermal energy thanks to its location on one of the earth’s most active seismological regions. The majority comes from the power station at Krafla and Iceland’s state-backed power firm currently only sells about 17 per cent of its output to the country’s industry and residents. The remainder is sold to international companies such as the US-owned aluminium processing giant Alcoa.

Now, authorities are looking to send excess power southward via a massive under-sea cable to Scotland, although the £1.3 billion project has met resistance from Icelanders that fear the country could loose the self-reliance that local residents pride themselves on.

Lára Hanna Einarsdóttir, a popular Icelandic blogger, says that the country “will pay” should it move forward with efforts to export its abundance of cheap energy. She insists that the resource should be used to “supply ourselves and coming generations” and that “building more and more plants so that we can provide electricity to towns in Scotland” would be a gamble, the New York Times reports.

However, industry figureheads continue to promote the prospect.

Steinn Águst Steinsson, who manages the power plant at Krafla, told the media, “Prices are so low in Iceland that it is normal that we should want to sell to Europe and get a better price. It is not good to put all our eggs in one basket.”

Moreover, the head of Iceland’s National Energy Authority Guðni Jóhannesson has said that he believes the resource is so plentiful that there “no real limit” to production.

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