Iceland saves $1 billion annually through geothermal heating
Replacing oil with geothermal district heating has helped Iceland to not only provide energy security but also now save around $1 billion annually of what it would cost to import oil for heating.
Data released at the recent annual meeting of Iceland’s National Energy Authority (NEA) (Orkustofnun) shows that Iceland saves around $1 billion annually through the use of geothermal heating compared to heating houses with oil. The accumulated savings from 1914 to 2012 account to $21 billion.
The long term vision of politicians back in the 1950s and resources set forth for the development of district heating have paid off tremendously for the country, according to NEA.
The use of geothermal energy has increased dramatically over the past 40 years. In 1970 over half of the country’s population used oil for heating purposes, it is now not even one percent. This has created an energy independence of Iceland. Putting this into context with the unstable political situation due to the Russian-Ukrainian crisis, energy security has again pushed to the forefront of European politics.
The European Union today derives more than a third of its gas from Russia, with a lot of it being derived through pipes over Ukrainian territory. With the current situation, the EU is looking to develop domestic energy sources for heating to not be dependent on Russian gas.
The Icelandic example of how geothermal energy can transform an energy market and provide energy security is therefore an interesting case.