As Electricity Demand Increases, Iceland Gets More Serious About Wind Power - The Reykjavik Grapevine

As Electricity Demand Increases, Iceland Gets More Serious About Wind Power

Andie Fontaine
Photos by
Tom Corser/Wikimedia Commons

Wind power in Iceland, which has been in the trial stages for the past few years now, may soon become a permanent part of the electricity grid, RÚV reports. Demand for electricity has already begun to exceed supply, and a new report from the Ministry of Industry recommends raising more wind turbines to help.

Almost all of Iceland’s electricity is derived from hydropower and geothermal power, but the report states that the advantages of these energy sources have been on the wane. As Iceland’s population continues to increase, other avenues must be explored, and wind power is likely the best option for the nation.

The advantages of wind power, apart from being green and renewable, is its flexibility, the Ministry states. It can provide anywhere from 10MW to 200MW of power, depending on the size of the turbines involved.

However, it is highly unlikely that it could be the sole source of power for the country; the Ministry contends that hydropower will always have to be used, in order to ensure a stable base of available electricity, especially during times of high demand.

Trial runs of the few wind turbines in Iceland have yielded positive results. 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%.”

Of interesting note is a new report from the University of Iceland’s Social Science Research Institute, that found that 28% of Icelanders polled on the subject of a potential 200 MW wind farm at Búrfellslundur were willing to pay over 12,000 ISK to preserve the land and prevent the wind farm from being built. These results show that public opinion on wind farms may be more divided than originally suspected.


Show Me More!