Geothermal Drilling Resumes in Northeast Iceland Skip to content

Geothermal Drilling Resumes in Northeast Iceland

The controversial geothermal drilling in the area Theistareykir near Húsavík in northeast Iceland resumed two weeks ago, for the first time since 2008. It is hoped that the energy at Theistareykir can help power an aluminum smelter in the region.


A geothermal borehole in southwest Iceland. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.

The environment minister at the time, Thórunn Sveinbjarnardóttir, decided at the end of July 2008 that the environmental impact of all operations in the area, a geothermal power plant, electricity line and aluminum smelter at Bakki, should undergo a joint assessment. In October 2008 the economic crisis hit, further delaying the project.

Sveinbjarnardóttir commented in November last year that the overall environmental impact assessment ruled out a smelter at Bakki.

According to Morgunbladid, drilling is currently taking place by hole number seven below Mt. Ketilfjall. The project is being carried out by Jardboranir on behalf of Landsvirkjun, the national power company.

Óli Grétar Sveinsson, managing director of Landsvirkjun’s development division, said a special technique is being used to minimize the damage to the landscape as much as possible and maximize the water permeability in each hole.

Environmentalists fear that the drilling at Theistareykir and other operations surrounding the planned smelter at Bakki may cause irreparable damage to the area.

Click here to read more about the project and controversy.


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