EU and Iceland talks on Arctic conservation

arcticA discussion has taken place in Brussels between the EU, and Iceland’s Foreign Affairs minister on protecting energy activities in the Arctic region.

A high level consultation known as the ‘Arctic Dialogue’ will take place on April 15th, following a preliminary meeting between Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Füle and Össur Skarphéðinsson for the Iceland Government.

Iceland’s energy policies, specifically hydro and geothermal power generation were on the agenda, but they also discussed environmental issues such as oil spills  and cooperation on disaster preparedness. They also suggested a joint maritime service centre for economic development and monitoring in the North Atlantic and the Arctic.

Also in attendance was Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger, who stressed the importance of renewable energy strategy, since 80 per cent of Iceland’s energy comes from geothermal resources and 15 per cent from hydro power. However none of this energy is exportable, being kinetic, and is only useful for local industry. More than 70 per cent of all electricity produced in Iceland goes to use in the aluminium production industry.

The talks are part of EU succession talks, involving 27 chapters, under present discussion. Iceland is an important contributor to the Arctic region conservation initiative.