Geothermal key to Iceland’s path to 100% renewables and overall good investment

Geothermal key to Iceland’s path to 100% renewables and overall good investment View over Reykjavik, Iceland (source: ThinkGeoEnergy)
Alexander Richter 30 Sep 2019

Iceland's Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir had a clear message at the recent UN Assembly, geothermal energy is key to Iceland's path to 100% renewables and has been elementary and best investment, both in terms of economy and quality of life for the country.

In her speech at the recent UN Assembly climate discussions in New York, Iceland’s Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir had a clear message, geothermal energy is key to Iceland’s path to 100% renewables.

“Urgency” is the key issue posed by Iceland during the climate action summit promoted by the UN on the occasion of its 74th general assembly and ended this week in New York: “We are facing a planetary emergency – she said in the during the summit the prime minister – We must act now to save the future. If we don’t start early to reduce global emissions, we could reach a point of no return ».

A transition that Iceland has set by declaring its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2040 thanks to the decisive contribution of indigenous renewable energies, among which geothermal energy stands out.

“Iceland’s electricity and heating are now 100% renewable,” said Jakobsdóttir. “Was it hard work? Yes. Has it cost? Obviously. But the transition to clean energy was perhaps our best investment, both in terms of economy and quality of life. And I am convinced that the investments we are making now to implement the transition in our transport system will be vital to combat the climate crisis, but also an excellent investment for our society and our economy “.

Moreover, the data provided in this regard by the Icelandic National Energy Authority, Orkustofnun, speak for themselves: already five years ago, around 85% of primary energy consumption in Iceland was met through indigenous renewable resources, 66% of which from geothermal sources . Geothermal power plants currently generate 25% of electricity production in the country (in Tuscany we are already around 30%, while in Italy the figure is steady at around 2%) and 9/10 of the Icelandic population heats the buildings thanks to heat of the earth, used with profit also for activities of cultivation, horticulture, but also in industrial and tourist areas (just think that the National Geographic magazine has inserted since 2012 the Icelandic thermal establishment Blue Lagoon among the 25 “Wonders of the world”) .

But if geothermal energy in Iceland has always been an indigenous renewable resource – its growing use is the result of a country’s recent history that has strongly focused on the development of clean energy: “I come from a country that for centuries has been among the poorest in Europe, but that in the last 60 years has been able to carry out a process of development for prosperity economic and social well-being – Ólafur Grímsson, president of Iceland from 1996 to 2016, told the Global Alliance for Geothermal Energy in Florence two years ago – In Iceland, those responsible for economic development realize that geothermal energy makes it possible to diversify its economy offering important business opportunities for new generations; furthermore geothermal energy has unique continuity characteristics, offering stability in the supply of energy that no other renewable source can give in a cost-effective way. We did not transform Iceland just to meet climate targets, we changed it because geothermal energy was and is the pillar of our economic success “.