Iceland could become ‘green battery’ for UK

Positive News

Iceland produces more energy than it can use, but thanks to advances in technology, the UK could soon be on hand to help out

Iceland’s restless volcanoes do more than just disrupt flights; they also pack a geothermal punch that provides a colossal source of cheap, clean energy. Combined with a network of vast hydropower stations, Iceland’s geothermal power plants give the country more renewable energy than it can use — and Britain’s on hand to help out.

Iceland’s state energy company, Landsvirkjun, announced this year that it was hatching a plan to run an undersea cable from Iceland to Scotland, allowing the British grid to slurp up Iceland’s excess energy. The idea dates back to the 1950s, but a new study suggests that technological advances have now made the project economically viable.

“We can serve as a green battery for the UK. We believe it’s a win-win situation,” Landsvirkjun CEO Hörður Arnarson told reporters.

The proposed cable, which would be the world’s longest undersea power line, could be brought online by 2020, allowing Iceland to offload surplus energy at market prices. That would be an economic and environmental boon for Iceland, which currently sells huge amounts of electricity at bargain-basement prices to the energy-intensive aluminium smelting industry.

Still, some Icelanders fear that becoming an energy exporter would leave their country vulnerable to the economic ‘resource curse’ that has afflicted oil-rich nations in the Middle East. Iceland’s energy companies “are looking for easy money, but who is going to pay in the end? We will all pay,” blogger Lára Hanna Einarsdóttir told the New York Times.

Iceland’s geothermal boom has also caught the attention of foreign energy giants: Canada’s Magma Energy drew protests in 2010 after snapping up a 99% stake in HS Orka, which produces about a tenth of Iceland’s heat and energy. After a campaign led by pop singer Björk, Magma agreed in 2011 to sell 25% of the company back to Icelandic investors.

Photo title: Hot spring at Reykjanes, a volcanic system near Reykjavik

Photo credit: © Lucy Purdy

  • peoplesunitedassembly

    With new battery technology, rather than send a massive cable under the sea, create trucks that are designed to carry super sized batteries (these truck can also run on this as fuel) then deliver the batteries to UK, Europe, World.

  • John Baker

    This must be a huge boost to Scotland’s bid to become an independent nation. Fingers crossed.

  • Carl

    I hope Scotland vote’s to stay part of the UK but I agree with John’s comment that this could help Scotland gain true independence. Either way I like the sound of this technology and it shouldn’t attract too much attention from the nimby’s.

Start typing and press Enter to search