Both East and West Jökulsá in Skagafjörđur make the list of the top river rafting spots in Europe. The river East Jökulsá has a rating of 4+ out of 5 for difficulty. Landsvirkjun plans to harness the energy of the rivers and according to the proposal Skatastađir Power Plant D, an 75 m-high dam would be constructed in Pollagil canyon.
Skatastađir Power Plant D
Rivers East and West Jökulsá in Skagafjörđur
- Skatastađir Power Plant D
Rivers Jökulsár in Skagafjörđur
Landsvirkjun has plans to build power plants in the twin rivers Jökulsár in Skagafjörđur. The Master Plan for Hydro and Geothermal Energy Resources lists three power proposals in the area, namely Skatastađir Power Plant C, Skatastađir Power Plant D and Villinganes Power Plant, but at the moment all three are to be protected.
The rivers and their drainage basins are highly valued for the area‘s cultural relics, geological features and their related phenomena, water conditions, rare animal and plant species, ecosystem and soil.
Power plant construction in the rivers Jökulsár in Skagafjörđur would endanger the wetlands in the fjord‘s lowland areas. The wetlands are formed of sediment deposited by the glacial rivers, that slowly but unceasingly carry glacial debris, sand and mud to sea.
Photo © Hlynur Stefánsson
According to research carried out by Iceland‘s Institute of Freshwater Fisheries, The construction of power plants C and D at Skötustađir would seriously encroach on the migration routes of migratory brown trout and Arctic char. The habitats of rare local populations of Arctic char would be aversely impacted.
Power plant construction in the rivers Jökulsár in Skagafjörđur could have a negative impact on the local economy. The tourism industry especially would be dealt a heavy blow and some tourist attractions would be ruined, such as river rafting in the rivers – an immensely popular activity and ever-growing business.
The eastern Jökulsá river has some of Europe‘s top river rapids, and is graded 4+ out of 5 for difficulty. The western Jökulsá river is also important for the local tourism industry. It is graded 3 out of 5, which means that it is suitable for all age groups of river rafters.
River rafting has created a large number of jobs locally.
Landsvirkjun‘s proposals for the Skatastađir Power Plant D entail the construction of a 156 MW plant, with diversions from the rivers Fossá and Hölkná, from Nýjabćjarfjall mountain and the Hraunţúfa diversion. An 76 m dam would be constructed in the eastern Jökulsá river.
If plans for the Skatastađir Power Plant C come to fruition, the proposal for Skatastađir Power Plant D will be abandoned.