From Iceland — Some Residents Against Local Windmills Being Raised

Some Residents Against Local Windmills Being Raised

Published October 15, 2015

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Tom Corser/Wikimedia Commons

Ten windmills are set to be raised in Þykkvabær, south Iceland, but local residents have started a petition calling for an end to the project.

RÚV reports that an environmental assessment still needs to be made, and when all is said and done, construction could be as late as two years away. Nonetheless, the project is already facing local opposition.

50 area residents – a considerable number for an area as sparsely populated as Þykkvabær – have signed a petition calling for the project to be scrapped. One of the residents, Gyða Árný Helgadóttir, told reporters that their main concerns are noise pollution and sight pollution.

Wind power has already yielded some promising results for Iceland. Two windmills which were raised in February 2013 in Hafið – a lava field near Búrfell, in the south of Iceland – have shown a capacity factor that exceeds even global standards. According to an environmental report from the National Power Company on their wind power experiment over the course of 2013, “the average capacity factor for the wind turbines is approx. 40%, which exceeds all expectations. In comparison, the average capacity factor worldwide is approximately 28%.”

One factor in how the two windmills perform is their location, as Hafið forms “a natural wind tunnel”, but is also “not in close proximity to any residential areas but is close to necessary infrastructure such as high voltage transmission lines and main roads.” The distance from residential areas has rendered high noise levels an almost non-existent factor. The location also, fortunately, has little to no impact on the migratory paths and nesting areas of native bird species.

“The efficiency ratio of the wind turbines has been good,” the report states. “Up-time is the period of time that wind turbines are in operation (any ‘down-time’ as a result of maintenance work is excluded). Up-time is expected to be 98% and one of the wind turbines has fulfilled these expectations.”

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