Water rights worth more in Norway than in Iceland Skip to content

Water rights worth more in Norway than in Iceland

Water rights for the Kárahnjúkar dam in Iceland’s eastern highlands would be worth ISK 3.2 to 6.3 billion (USD 49.7 to 97.9 million, EUR 36.5 to 71.8 million) in Norway, according to the state-owned Norwegian energy company Statkraft, but they are only worth ISK 1.6 billion (USD 24.9 million, EUR 18.2 million) in Iceland, as a committee concluded last week.

In recent hydroelectric power plant projects in Norway, Statkraft paid ISK 1.4 million (USD 22,000, EUR 16,000) for water rights to land owners for every gigawatt hour produced by the power plants in one year, Fréttabladid reports.

Kárahnjúkar dam will produce 4,570 gigawatt hours in one year. If the conclusion of the water right committee stands, land owners in the eastern highlands, who are entitled to compensation for their water rights, will only receive about ISK 360,000 (USD 6,000, EUR 4,000) for every gigawatt hour.

So Norway pays four times the amount Iceland pays for water rights.

According to Hilmar Gunnlaugsson, lawyer of land owners entitled to water rights for the Kárahnjúkar dam, said water rights should be worth more in Iceland than in Norway because it is more difficult to harness hydroelectric power in Norway, since hydroelectric power plants have already been constructed in the most practical areas.

That is not the case in Iceland, Gunnlaugsson said.

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