Proposals for an 88 MW power plant at Hrafnabjörg in the river Skjálfandafljót would entail the creation of a 25 km-long reservoir that would completely submerge large tracts of highland vegetation. Furthermore, Aldeyjarfoss waterfall would dry up and disappear.
Hrafnabjörg Power Plant A
- Hrafnabjörg Power Plant A
The river Skjálfandi flows out of Vonarskarđ canyon north to the gulf of Skjálfandaflói. Spectacular natural phenomena lie within the drainage basin of the river Skjálfandi, including the waterfalls Gođafoss, Ingvararfoss, Hrafnabjargafoss and Aldeyjarfoss. Other treasures include Laufrönd and Neđribotnar, Ţingey, Skuldaţingsey, wetlands at Sandur and Sílalćkur in Ađaldalur valley, the Gćsavötn lakes at Gćsahnjúkur, the Tungnafellsjökull glacier and the aforementioned Vonarskarđ canyon.
Three proposals have been made for power plant construction along the river Skjalfandi, namely the Eyjadalsá Power Plant, the Fljótshnúkur Power Plant and the Hrafnabjörg Power Plant A. Experts working for the 2nd phase of the Master Plan for Hydro and Geothermal Energy Resources termed the river Skjálfandi among Iceland‘s most valuable areas for its scenery and natural expanses. The conservation of the entire river, from its origin to the river delta, is highly desirable.
Protected sites in the area include Ţingey, Skuldaţingsey, Hrauntunga, Hofgarđur and an unnamed farmstead at Fiskiá.
Two islands in the river Skjálfandi, Ţingey and Skuldaţingsey, are ancient thingsteads where public assemblies were held. They are counted among Iceland‘s most interesting and best conserved archeological sites, and vestiges of numerous ancient encampments are still visible today.
Bárđargata, one of Iceland‘s most famous travel routes, runs through the area and has recently regained some of its popularity with hikers.
The wetlands at Sandur and Sílalćkur and the stretch of the river Skjálfandi above Aldeyjarfoss waterfall are areas that have been considered for the international list of Important Bird Areas (IBAs). An area denoted IBA is considered to be not only of local but also of international significance.
Numerous bird species nest in these areas, while a number of other bird species use them as feeding grounds along their migratory routes.
These areas would be at risk from the Hrafnabjörg Power Plant A proposal.
Construction of either the Fljótshnúkur Power Plant or the Hrafnabjörg Power Plant would cause the renowned Aldeyjarfoss waterfall to dry up. The waterfall is considered one of Iceland‘s most beautiful waterfalls, with its unique columnar basalt formations.
The Hrafnabjörg Power Plant A proposal is for an 88 MW plant at Hrafnabjörg with a reservoir in Fljótsdalur valley south of Hrafnabjörg.
The 25 km reservoir would flood a large grown area in the Iceland Highlands. Króksdalur valley would be submerged. This valley lies at an altitude 300 m lower than surrounding areas, and rougly half of it supports vegetation. The valley‘s comparatively low altitude means that spring thaws arrive earlier than in surrounding areas, allowing vegetation, insects and birds to flourish.