Planning and construction committee of Hveragerdi in Ölfus municipality, south Iceland, has rejected plans for establishing a geothermal power plant in their region due to environmental reasons.
The committee concluded that the power plant would have a negative impact on the municipality’s opportunities in relation to tourism and population development. The area which had been reserved is registered as a natural reserve, Fréttabladid reports.
Head of Ölfus municipality, Ólafur Áki Ragnarsson, is disappointed and surprised by the committee’s decision. “The nation has to find something else to survive off if we are going to stop harnessing our resources. We can’t live off the air alone.”
Despite the committee’s rejection of the power plant, Ragnarsson said the plant will probably still be constructed because the electricity it will produce has already been earmarked for the potential aluminum smelter in Helguvík on Reykjanes peninsula.
According to Ragnarsson, that decision had been made many years ago so it would be strange if those plans would be terminated now. “If this power plant will not be constructed, which will be operated in harmony with the environment, Iceland will be in serious trouble.”
The final decision lies with the Icelandic National Planning Agency, which is responsible for making an environmental impact assessment of the project, and therefore Ölfus municipality will continue with its plans, Ragnarsson said.