The Krýsuvík Area - At Risk

The Krýsuvík Area - At Risk

According to the 2nd phase of the Master Plan for Hydro and Geothermal Energy Resources there are four proposed power projects in the Krýsuvík area, two to be exploited (Sandfell and Sveifluháls) and two awaiting further assessment (Austurengjar and Trölladyngja). These proposed power projects have been very controversial as exploitation of these geothermal areas might endanger both the water and biosphere in this popular outdoor area.

These proposed power projects are mainly related to a proposed smelter in Helguvík. The Krýsuvík area is assessed as a single unit by the National Energy Authority and is considered 89 km2 in size with a capacity of 445 MW for 50 years. Thus it becomes the third most powerful geothermal area following the Hengill and Torfajökull areas. This interpretation of the size of the area has been called into question as it is not consistent with the results of drilling in 1970. Independent studies suggest that the total processing capacity of the area is in the range of 120 MW for 50 years, whereas the smelter in Helguvík would need 630 MW.

Furthermore, the proposed power projects are not considered sustainable as the energy in the area would most likely be depleted within a few decades. For a power plant to be considered sustainable, the area should be exploitable for at least 200-300 years.

More information about the four proposed power projects in the Krýsuvík area can be found on Nature Iceland:

Sandfell  -  Sveifluháls  -  Austurengjar  -  Trölladyngja


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