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Iceland: Hellisheidi visitor center to be closed – please help to keep it open

Visitors at the Hellisheidi geothermal power plant (source: flickr/ Anette og Jan, creative commons)
Alexander Richter 23 Oct 2010

Help us to keep the Icelandic Hellisheidi geothermal power plant open to visitors and join our petition or send in your concerns to key people in this decision, e-mail addresses in the text.

Following the financial crisis and the devaluation of Iceland’s currency the Krona, many companies in the country face difficult times. So it is maybe no surprise thatReykjavik Energy (Orkuveita Reykjavikur) , which is majority owned by the municipality of Iceland’s capital city Reykjavik, has had to find ways to cut back and improve its financial position. So while this involves staff reduction, the increase in consumer prices, it also means some cut backs that will hurt the geothermal sector in the country.

As part of the cut backs, the utility has decided to close its visitor centers both at the Hellisheidi power plant and at the nearby Nesjavellir power plant, both in proximity to Reykjavik, but also programs on education, a museum etc.

The geothermal plants of Nesjavellir and Hellisheidi are probably the most visited geothermal power plants in the world. Hellisheidi alone has attracted more than 100,000 visitors last year. It is the frequent attraction on many visits by foreign visitors, among them heads of state, politicians, journalists etc.  Particularly the newer Hellisheidi plant has been an eye opener for so many of what geothermal energy can do, with a magnificent building and great staff on site it has been a showcase of Icelandic geothermal expertise and pride.

Pictures of the plant: Flickr.com/ThinkGeoEnergy

Video of one of the visits: YouTube.com/ThinkGeoEnergy  (wells 1, plant process, turbine in action)

It is a huge blow to see it being closed and while there are many here in the country now fighting for a way to keep it open, I would like to encourage you to petition to anyone with influence.

Petition

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If you want to send e-mails individually here a few e-mail addresses of people with influence, while some of them have less influence than others given the majority in the city council and representation in the board of Orkuveita, any of those below should be well aware of any petition on this matter:

CEO of Reykjavik Energy/ Orkuveita: Helgi Thor Ingason, HelgiThorIngason@or.is

Media/ PR Reykjavik Energy: Eirikur Hjalmarsson, EirikurHjalmarsson@or.is

Jón Gnarr, the mayor of Reykjavík: borgarstjori@reykjavik.is

Board members of Reykjavik Energy: Haraldur Flosi Tryaggvason (Chairman) HaraldurFlosiTryggvason@or.is; Kjartan Magnusson, kjartan.magnusson@reykjavik.is; Soley Tomasdottir, soley.tomasdottir@reykjavik.is