The Icelandic industry minister has stated the government plans to commission another study on the feasibility of laying a power line to Scotland. Ragnheiður Elín Árnadóttir said that initial studies had forecast a broad disparity in the amount of annual revenue Iceland could expect to get from the project.
The minister said that the revenue forecasts varied from ISK4 billion to more than ISK70 billion. She added that with this degree of uncertainty it would be virtually impossible to make an informed decision on whether the power cable would actually benefit Iceland.
Iceland has long considered the idea of installing an undersea cable to export its vast reserves of unused power. The project became more attractive to ministers following the island nation’s economic meltdown in 2008.
Analysts say that around three quarters of Iceland’s energy resources are not being utilised. In 2012, the nation generated electricity to the tune of 17.2 terawatt hours. A large proportion of this was used to keep aluminium smelters running.
National Energy Authority studies have shown that Iceland could easily double its output with no detrimental effects to the environment. Icelandic energy company Landsvirkjun says that it will cost at least ISK36 billion for every extra terawatt hour of generating capacity.
If the project eventually gets the green light it will be the longest undersea power line in the world. Engineers say the cable link could be up to 1,170kms long.
Ragnheiður Elín said that with such a large investment needed to get the project off the ground the government would be proceeding cautiously. She finished off by saying that research also needed to be conducted on the environmental impacts of such a long underwater power cable.