The Hellisheiði Geothermal Plant has significantly reduced its electricity production, as its current output levels were proving to be financially unsustainable, scientists have found.
The amount of geothermal energy available to be harnessed in the area as was initially expected to be greater, visir.is reports. The plant has the capacity of 303MW of electricity, and was producing as much after it was fully built in fall 2011. But since the beginning of this year, production has been reduced and is now only 276MW.
In order to maintain the plant’s full capacity in the long run, a new turbine would have to be added each year, which would be extremely costly. However, the geothermal area which the plant operates on is quite small and already its turbines lie close to one another. The area around it offers very little geothermal sources. This is the conclusion of studies carried out by Reykjavík Energy’s scientists, which Fréttablaðið has gotten hold of.
Bjarni Bjarnason, CEO of Reykjavík Energy, said to Fréttablaðið that the company is looking at connecting the Hverahlíð geothermal area to the Hellisheiði plant’s source area to ensure that the plant will operate at full capacity for the next years, and remain profitable.
Reykjavík Energy is a public utility company providing electricity, geothermal water for heating, and cold water for consumption and fire fighting. The service area extends to 20 communities, covering 67% of the Icelandic population. Anna Andersen covered its sproblematic story in this 2011 article.