How is renewable energy helping Iceland to achieve climate change targets?


Renewable energy in Iceland

Birta Kristín Helgadóttir – Director of Green by IcelandIn this guest blog Birta Kristín Helgadóttir – Director of Green by Iceland, highlights the renewable energy measures being embraced by Iceland to help achieve climate change targets.

With Ofgem announcing that UK energy bills are set to rise by over 50% in April, many are looking towards an increased focus on renewables to protect households from future crisis. Some experts are seeing a silver lining, arguing that the hike is a wake-up call to the nation to speed up the transition to Net Zero. 

So what can the nation learn from our international neighbours?

Icelanders have a long history of maximising resources, and the development of sustainable energy solutions. Iceland has relied on renewable energy for nearly all its electricity and heating needs for more than half a century and the nation’s electricity is entirely generated from hydro and geothermal resources. Iceland’s geothermal power plants make full use of all resources available on location such as geothermal hot water, steam, cold water, renewable electricity and even carbon dioxide. Iceland is exporting its geothermal energy expertise and working on sustainable energy projects in countries all over the world, including the UK and Europe.

Additionally, as part of its commitment to sustainability, Iceland is working toward a goal of carbon neutrality and full energy conversion by 2040 which will make Iceland the first state to be independent of fossil fuels.

With Iceland as a global leader in the geothermal energy sector and other innovative sustainable solutions, the country is eager to share those solutions and help improve the environment. The export of Icelandic renewable energy expertise is making, and will continue to make, a positive impact on the climate worldwide.

Take Arctic Green Energy Corporation for example, whose founding mission is to export Icelandic success and leadership in geothermal and other renewables to emerging markets. The impact of Icelandic solutions and expertise abroad is clearly seen in Arctic Green’s operations in China, working through a subsidiary partially owned by Sinopec. Their geothermal district heating projects in China replace coal for space heating, with incredible positive environmental impacts. To date, Sinopec Green Energy has prevented more than 11.4 million tons of CO2 emissions.

Another prime example is ÍSOR Iceland GeoSurvey that helps assess geothermal potential around the world. Working together with engineering firms Verkís, Mannvit, and Vatnaskil, they take part in geothermal projects around the world. ISOR also hosts the GRO Geothermal Training Programme, which promotes the utilization and sustainable management of reliable, economically viable and environmentally sound geothermal energy resources in the developing world.

Companies such as these are championing geothermal and renewable energy solutions that can be useful to other countries as they shape their own sustainable and climate friendly future.