Clean Icelandic Energy Going To Europe?

An energy company in Iceland is looking into whether it can feasibly export power via a very long underwater cable to Europe. Landsvirkjun, an Icelandic energy company launched in 1965 to build hydroelectric power plants, is conducting a study into whether or not technology and economic conditions will line up to support their idea to send renewable power to Europe.

The idea is not a new one. Similar studies have been commissioned to look into whether or not power could be routed to Europe by way of a submarine cable over the last few decades, but the results of those studies showed that the idea was well ahead of its time. In the past, the cost and demand for energy didn’t support the lofty expense of laying down the infrastructure. Now, with the demand for renewable energy at an all-time high and the rising cost of energy in Europe, Landsvirkjun thinks the idea’s time may have finally come.

Krafla volcano, iceland, geothermal research

image via Bjarni Palssen

The huge, undersea  cable would stretch from Iceland to a coastal point in either Norway, Germany, the Netherlands or the northern UK. Landsvirkjun says that the cable will have to be at least 1900 km (1180.6 miles) to reach the closest potential landing spot on Norway’s coast. That’s roughly the same as the driving distance from Newark to Miami. The estimated transmission capacity of such a cable would range between 600 and 1,000 MW.


image via Landsvirkjun

The lag time between the current study and a fully functioning system is estimated at about 9 years. Landsvirkjun thinks it will take four to five years to complete their analysis and another four to five years to construct and deploy the cable and set up converter systems on either side. If things go well for the company, they could be up and running by 2020.

  • So, some hope for Iceland financial recovery AND great news for renewable energy. Here’s hoping.