The Fögruhverir hot springs in the Hágöngur area were completely submerged and lost when a reservoir was created for power projects in the area of the rivers Ţjórsá and Tungnaá. Current proposals for a power plant in the area would place the plant in the middle of the Iceland Highlands, at the edge of the Vatnajökull National Park. These proposals would entail much greater damage and disruption than previous dam construction in the area, and the requisite 60 km power lines would completely transform the area’s appeal.
Hágöngur Power Plant
- Hágöngur Power Plant
Hágöngur and Skrokkalda
Dam construction began in the Hágöngur area in 1998 to create a reservoir for power plants in the Ţjórsá and Tungnaá area. 37 km˛ of beautiful scenery, including geothermally active areas, were thus submerged. A trail was also laid in the Sveđjuhraun lava fields and a deep borehole was drilled for research purposes in connection with a proposed geothermal power plant.
The area is located near the very heart of the Iceland highlands, and large-scale construction of power plants, roads, power lines and pipes would deal a heavy blow to the wide highland expanses of central Iceland. Despite the construction of the Hágöngur dam and the damage caused to the geothermal area with the creation of the reservoir, the visual impact of these structures has remained minimal so far. One contributing factor is that no new road was laid from the Sprengisandur route to the dam, as had originally been planned. An old trail was used instead.
Just like what happened with the creation of Hálslón, Ufsarlón and Kelduárlón reservoirs, power plant construction at Hágöngur and Skrokkalda would further constrict Vatnajökull National Park and diminish its value. If the national park had been founded before the creation of the Hágöngulón reservoir, the park‘s borders would naturally have lain west of Hágöngur.
The proposed Skrokkalda Power Plant and Hágöngur Power Plant are examples of power projects that would corrupt extensive and valuable highland expanses west of the Vatnajökull ice cap, regardless of whether one or both proposals become reality. Power plant construction would permanently ruin the area east of Hágöngur. Not only is the Hágöngur area located right on the tectonic plate boundary, but also in the immediate vicinity of the hot spot that lies under Iceland – one of the most volcanically active hot spots on Earth. Conserving the area is therefore of great significance.
A little-known area of geothermal activity is found in the Hágöngur area, but it has now been partially submerged by the Hágöngulón reservoir. Surface heat can mostly be detected in three locales, but two of these went underwater when the Hágöngulón reservoir was flooded. The third locale is at the western edge of the Sveđjuhraun lava field. A volcano seems to be located under the area, and is likely to have formed a caldera, albeit not visible.
Hágöngur lies about 40 km northeast of Lake Ţórisvatn.
There are plans to harness the geothermal energy in the area, and the power output of the Hágöngur Power Plant is estimated at 150 MW.
A high-voltage power line would need to be laid, probably to connect to the national grid at Vatnsfellsvirkjun Power Plant, 60 km away.
It has not been clarified how hot and chemically polluted waste water would be disposed of, as no satisfactory solution to this problem has so far been identiified.