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Environment

The Reykjavik Energy Group is among the largest companies in Iceland. The performance of the Group in environmental matters is therefore important. The Group has worked systematically at reducing the negative effects of its operations on the environment and nature. The SulFix process, through which hydrogen sulphide is sequestrated in rock, and the restoration of disturbed areas with local vegetation, which are applied at the Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plant, clearly demonstrate that it is possible to take measures to reduce the negative effects on the quality of the air and land in an eco-friendly and cost-effective manner.

The main environmental projects can be seen in the following list. The operations of the Reykjavik Energy Group are certified in accordance with the ISO 14001 environmental management system. The Group regularly submits reports to licensing authorities, i.e. the health authorities, the National Energy Authority and the Environment Agency.

Environmental priorities of the Reykjavik Energy Group:

  • To emphasise water protection, the responsible management of water resources and ensure the long-term supply of potable water
  • Show responsible handling and management of low-temperature resources
  • Show responsible handling and management of high-temperature resources, to reduce hydrogen sulphide emissions and discharge geothermal water in a responsible way
  • Show responsible handling and management of waste water systems
  • Handle waste in a responsible way
  • To continue to apply effective procedures to restore disturbed areas
  • To play an active role in promoting climate-friendly transport

Water Protection and Water Management

Good health and well-being Clean water and sanitation Sustainable cities and communities Promotes UN‘s Sustainable Development Goals

In 2019, Veitur Utilities ensured the supply of potable water to residents and the business community in the distribution area, in accordance with established quality standards and the statutory and regulatory provisions and objectives of Veitur Utilities.

Quality of potable water in Reykjavik

Veitur Utilities has thirteen water sources and ON Power has two water sources. The water utilities’ distribution system caters for up to 45% of the nation.

Thaws and precipitation can cause microbial contamination in water extraction wells. In the autumn of 2019, micro-organism measurements exceeded the limit in two water samples from boreholes in Grábrók in West Iceland and one sample from the distribution system. This could be attributed to surface water mixing with groundwater, as a result of high levels of precipitation, after a very dry summer in 2019. Veitur Utilities has installed an ultraviolet (UV) light for cold water from water sources at Grábrók and a portion of the water supply in Heiðmörk. Micro-organisms that may be carried in the water sources are therefore destroyed before the water is fed into the distribution system. Water from boreholes in the so-called lower zones of water extraction areas also go through the UV lighting equipment. These measures are not necessary in the deeper wells in Heiðmörk. The UV illumination of the water only incapacitates the micro-organisms, but does not prevent other kinds of contamination.

Water conservation

Water conservation areas are delimited around the water sources of Veitur Utilities. Water protected areas are monitored with regard to, among other things, the transport of oil, petrol and other hazardous substances in Heidmörk. Accidents and incidents caused by dangerous behaviour within protected water areas are registered and discussed and action is taken as appropriate. Veitur employees and contractors, working on projects in protected areas, take environmental courses before projects commence to prevent contamination accidents. This requirement is stipulated in the tender documents.

Veitur Utilities has consulted with the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration (IRCA), the Association of Local Authorities and local health inspectorates about the closure and improvement of roads, in addition to further groundwater research in the area, to reduce the risk of oil and hazardous substance accidents in protected water zones within the capital area.

Microplastics

Very few microplastics are found in Veitur's water sources according to research conducted by ReSource International ehf. (RI). Samples were taken from boreholes, water sources, water tanks and distribution systems. Microplastic particles were found in half of the samples in the distribution system, but less in the boreholes and water tanks. The median average in water samples was one particle per 10 litres of water. Research conducted by ORB Media, on potable water around the globe, which was published in 2018 found an average of 50 microplastic particles per 10 litres of water. A report published by the World Health Organization (WHO) in August 2019 states that, despite the shortage of data, particularly regarding very small microplastic particles, there are no indications that they pose a danger to human health. WHO points out that further research is required.

My carbon footprint

7.28 tons CO2 equivalents per year An Icelander’s carbon footprint is about 12 tons per year

Marta Rós Karlsdóttir

Head of Natural Resources, ON Power

The carbon footprint of an individual should, roughly-speaking, be under 1.5 - 2 tons of CO2-equivalents per year to keep global warming within the limits set by the Paris Agreement. My carbon footprint is therefore too high! The greatest opportunities to reduce my footprint are for me to reduce consumption and eat fewer animal products. I’ve become more careful in both my choice of products and consumption because with increased knowledge, more accessible information about environmental impacts and, not least, the increased availability of eco-friendly and sustainable products, it is becoming much easier to make better decisions.

E6 Water Usage

Own use

In 2019, Reykjavik Energy Group’s production of cold water amounted to over 29 million m3 and hot water amounted to around 92 million m3. Of the 92 million m3 of hot water produced, 39 million m3 was cold water, which was heated in ON Power’s plants in the Hengill area. The rest was hot water from low-temperature areas.

Reykjavik Energy Group’s own use of cold water was about 72 million m3 and hot water use was over 646 thousand m3.

All of the thermal energy used to heat buildings in Hellisheidi is part of a closed system. The same water is recirculated and the use of thermal energy is not measured. The Reykjavik Energy Group’s own use of cold water is almost exclusively for ON Power’s geothermal power plants in the Hengill area. Nearly 72 million m3 of cold water was pumped in 2019, almost 39 million m3 of which was utilised for thermal production such as domestic heating in the greater Reykjavik area. 33 million m3 was used for power plant operations and the cooling of equipment (about 46%).

The percentage of Veitur Utilities’ own use of hot water is very low in relation to the volume produced. Veitur Utilities places an emphasis on minimising energy consumption and waste in its utility systems.

Recycling

60% of the geothermal water from the Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plant and 90% of the geothermal water from the Nesjavellir Geothermal Power Plant has been reinjected into the geothermal field.

Environmental and Resource Policy

The Reykjavik Energy Group works according to an environmental and resource policy, which marks Reykjavik Energy’s commitment to steadily improve its performance on environmental issues. The Policy is based on five principles which apply to all operating units: Responsible resource management, serviceability; providing access to the company’s utilities, the impact of emissions from operations and the impact on the community and company activities. Key factors include the protection of potable water, sustainable utilisation of resources and compliance with the pillars of sustainable development. The goal is to achieve carbon neutrality and footprint-free production and operations by 2030. We place an emphasis on the responsible use of energy and supplies and handling of waste, in collaboration with suppliers and contractors. The policy forms the basis for effective collaboration with stakeholders.

The Group has defined environmental factors as significant with regard to the principles stated in the Environmental and Resource policy. Objectives have been established and defined for the handling of waste, high-temperature and low-temperature water resources, as well as energy consumption and minimising waste.

The operations of the Reykjavik Energy Group are not certified according to a formal energy management system.

Waste Management

Greenhouse gas emissions from waste for landfill were similar to figures from 2015. The percentage of waste from waste water treatment plants is the highest, i.e. about 50% of the total volume of landfilled waste. There is limited scope for controlling this type of waste as it is produced by the public and the business community in the utility area. Veitur Utilities launched an advertising campaign to highlight the damage caused by wet wipes and other rubbish in the sewage system.

The volume of other waste either increased or decreased. The appendices show how waste is divided between waste categories, work sites and municipalities.

Waste management at Reykjavik Energy Group 2015-2018

Environmental Incident at the Andakílsá Hydropower Station

In 2019, ON Power held a workshop with representatives from Skorradalshreppur, Borgarbyggð, land owners in the Skorradalur Lake and Andakílsá River areas, as well as representatives of summer house owners around the Skorradalur Lake. An action plan was subsequently drawn up, focusing on environmental issues around the Andakílsá Hydropower Station, and based on ideas that emerged from the workshop. The local community is involved in plan development.

The Andakílsá River Ecosystem

The Andakílsá River ecosystem has recovered after a substantial amount of silt was carried into the river during an inspection of the dam intake at the Andakílsá Hydropower Station in May 2017. According to the findings of the Marine Research Institute, there is still some progress to be made, particularly where the flow is at its weakest, but habitats recovered relatively quickly. Fishing pools were dredged in 2017 and this will be repeated in 2020.

About 30,000 juveniles were released into the river in 2019 and the same will be done in 2020. The Marine Research Institute released its plans for smolt farming plan and ongoing research into the river ecosystem in the autumn of 2019. ON Power held meetings with the Andakílsá Angling Association to discuss the smolt farming plan, arrangements for the 2020 summer fishing season, the emptying of the intake reservoir of the Andakílsá Hydropower Station in the autumn of 2020, and land erosion on the banks of the Andakílsá River.

Skorradalur Lake

The water levels of the Skorradalur Lake exceeded ON Power's limit in January 2019, due to a tremendous water swell, although water levels never exceeded the licensed limit which is 63.10 m.a.s.l. (see annex).

Drone monitoring began on bank erosion on the coastline of Fitja, Fitjahlíð and Grundarland in 2019. According to a report on the monitoring of wetland areas within the inner perimeters of the Skorradalur Lake, produced by the Icelandic Institute of Natural History in December 2019, there have not been any significant changes in vegetation close to the lake since measurements were last taken in 2011 (see annex).

The first version of the inflow model for the Skorradalur Lake is complete and the expected inflow into the lake can be seen three days in advance. Work has also begun on a wave model for the lake.

My carbon footprint

13.03 tons CO2 equivalents per year An Icelander’s carbon footprint is about 12 tons per year

Albert I. Ingimundarson

Chef, Reykjavík Energy

This surprises me! There is some air travel but consumption is high, compared to the average Joe. I could give more thought to what I spend and review my travelling habits, i.e. switch from a plug-in hybrid to an electric vehicle, but we already cycle to and from work quite a bit. We need to offset the impact of emissions. This was something we didn’t give any thought to until a few years ago. Humans can do better when it comes to taking care of Mother Nature. Improvements still need to be made!

In 2019, production in the low-temperature fields of Veitur Utilities in the capital area and most distribution areas in South and West Iceland was in accordance with the company’s definitions and objectives and statutory and regulatory provisions.

Capital area

In 2019, production in the low-temperature fields of Veitur Utilities in the capital area and most distribution areas in South and West Iceland was in accordance with the company’s definitions and objectives and statutory and regulatory provisions.

Veitur Utilities operates thirteen district heating utilities. There are five in West Iceland, seven in South Iceland and one in the Capital area (see appendix). The district heating utilities provide services to 65% of the country. Low-temperature fields in the capital area are steadily utilised. The demand for hot water is increasing in the capital area and was close to reaching the tolerance limit for hot water reserves. This called for the expansion of the district heating utility in Hellisheidi, which is expected to reach completion in February 2020. Research began on the feasibility of producing hot water from low-temperature fields in Geldinganes (in Reykjavík) in 2019.

The supply of water, heated by geothermal water at the geothermal power plant, to Mosfellsbær, Árbær, Ártúnshöfði and Kjalarness in 2019 marked a historical moment in heating utility operations. Production was subsequently reduced in the low-temperature fields in Reykjahlíð, Laugarnes and Elliðaárdalur, which increased winter reserves. The project will be used as a model for the future provision of hot water from geothermal power plants to the entire capital area. The ongoing utilisation of low-temperature fields could be secured in the capital area if geothermal production can be utilised in this manner and within sustainable limits (see annex). Heating utilities are also expected to improve utilisation methods and fully utilise energy streams in any future plans.

South and West Iceland

Conditions in most of the low-temperature fields in South and West Iceland are good, albeit with some exceptions.

More hot water needs to be produced for the Rangá Utility which services populated clusters in Hella and Hvolsvöllur. Water and steam production was better in 2019 than in 2018. The connection of a borehole in Ölfusdalur with utilities was completed in September 2019. Work is being done on installing a high temperature deep well pump in one borehole, which serves the utility, but this would be the first time in the world that a pump of this kind is used for geothermal energy.

Production and transport capacity was increased in the Thorlákshöfn utility in early December 2019, and then an upgraded pumping station was used and a pump was placed in a hole which was previously a gravity feed.

My carbon footprint

9.27 tons CO2 equivalents per year An Icelander’s carbon footprint is about 12 tons per year

Gísli Sveinsson

Deputy director, ON Power

Consumption is a big part of my carbon footprint and that surprises me. This is offset by the fact that I travel to work either on my bike or in a hybrid car. It will take some effort to decrease my consumption, but these figures will be a challenge for me to change my habits and reduce my carbon footprint. Everyone has to do their bit.

Geothermal energy activity is monitored at the surface in the Hengill area, which can be impacted by natural changes and because of geothermal energy production. There is no definite way of discerning whether the changes occur naturally or are caused by man. Changes in Hverahlíð started when wells were drilled in the area.

Changes in geothermal energy activity on the surface

Production field of geothermal power plants in the Hengill area and changes in geothermal energy activity at the surface

In 2019, energy production at Nesjavellir and Hellisheidi were in accordance with the power plant’s operating licence and ON Power's objectives. Maintaining the production capacity of power plants in the Hengill area has been one of the company’s most important tasks in recent years.

Three production wells were drilled at the Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plant in 2019. Drilling also began on one reinjection well at the plant which will be completed in 2020. One production well was drilled at Nesjavellir in 2019.

Two wells were drilled in Hverahlíd in 2019 and connected to the Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plant. One well was drilled in Nesjavellir in 2019. The steam reserve status of ON Power’s plants is good.

The production capacity of the wells in Hverahlíd now exceeds the transport capacity of the Hverahlíd utility. Power generation options for the Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plant were mapped out in 2019 and the conclusion is that the most viable way to maintain the production capacity of the plant is to increase the transport capacity of the Hverahlíd pipeline. A double Hverahlíd pipeline is now considered a satisfactory solution on the basis of the status of the resources because the drawdown has decreased in Hverahlíd. The chances of achieving good results at the wells in Hverahlíð are considerably better than in the traditional production field at the Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plant. ON Power carefully monitored the utilisation drawdown in Hverahlíð and in the older production field of the Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plant and also in Nesjavellir.

The current production area in the Hengill area may need to be expanded, if full capacity is to be maintained at the Hellisheidi and Nesjavellir geothermal power plants in the long term. Some preliminary research will need to be completed on the potential of future production, to facilitate informed decisions on the future of power generation and to guarantee the sustainable utilisation of geothermal resources.

Discharge of Geothermal Water and Induced Seismicity

Discharge of geothermal fluids

Geothermal fluid is reinjected back into the geothermal system at the Hellisheidi and Nesjavellir geothermal power plants, to protect surface and groundwater. The fluid is hotter than groundwater and has a different chemical composition. This also bolsters the pressure in the geothermal reservoir, which boosts sustainable utilisation.

Various research and development projects have been conducted in recent years to fulfil reinjection requirements at Hellisheidi and Nesjavellir, with considerable success.

In 2019, 60% of the geothermal fluids extracted from the geothermal reservoir in Hellisheiði (separated water and condensate water) were reinjected, 96% of which was separated water. The condensate water (dense pure steam) not used for reinjection (38% of the geothermal fluids) evaporated in the cooling towers or was released in shallow reinjection wells. Some 2% of the geothermal fluids went into the overflow of the reinjection utility, due to incidents in operations.

Over 90% of the geothermal fluid extracted from the geothermal reservoir at Nesjavellir in 2019 was reinjected back into the system. The development of the reinjection utility at the plant in recent years has resulted in the discharge of geothermal fluids being at an all-time low over the past two years.

Geothermal energy production is accompanied by the substantial discharge of heated groundwater at the surface. Groundwater has been extensively monitored in the past by recording well and hot spring temperatures in real-time. Samples have also been collected since the power plant began operations in 1990. The results do not show a decrease in groundwater temperatures, despite less discharge (see graph). This could be attributed to the following:

  • The reinjection of geothermal fluids does not result in a cooling of groundwater because the reinjected fluid mixes with the groundwater, following flow paths underground in the rock itself.
  • Improvements made to the release routes have not yet resulted in a cooling of the groundwater at Þingvallavatn Lake.

Heated groundwater from geothermal power plants was used for the first time in hot water utilities in Mosfellsbær, Árbær, Ártúnshöfði and Kjalarnes in the summer of 2019. There are plans to further utilise heated groundwater from power plants for hot water utilities in the capital area.

Monitoring on the ecosystem in Þorsteinsvík, by the Þingvallavatn Lake, began before the Nesjavellir Geothermal Power Plant was built. The results, released by the Natural History Museum of Kópavogur, show that these trace elements do not have a statistically significant impact on the ecosystem (see appendix).

The analysis of the status of groundwater at Nesjavellir will continue so that ON Power can achieve its objective of reducing the environmental impact of the Nesjavellir Geothermal Power Plant.

EN_Varmagja 2018.png

Water temperature at Varmagjá at Þingvallavatn Lake, the development of the Nesjavellir Geothermal Power Plant and mitigation measures

Induced Seismic Activity

In 2019, the Reykjavik Energy Group achieved its objective of ensuring that seismic activity, potentially associated with the reinjection of geothermal fluid, would not cause inconvenience or damage.

The reinjection of geothermal fluids, blasting associated with geological research and drilling in high-temperature areas can cause seismic activity, or so-called 'induced seismic activity' i.e. triggered earthquakes. ON Power follows procedures that are designed to minimise the risk of triggered earthquakes, in and around the Hengill area.

Seismic activity is associated with the reinjection of geothermal fluids, particularly in the Húsmúli area by the Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plant (see appendix). The earthquakes occur when reinjection releases tension that has built up in the bedrock, due to movements in the earth’s crust. In 2019, two notifications were sent to the Icelandic Meteorological Office and the Department of Civil Protection Unit of the Icelandic Police Department due to changes in reinjection. The earthquakes were not felt in populated areas.

Data on the bedrock in geothermal systems is important for drilling and the production of geothermal energy. In the summer of 2019, ten small explosions were set off in wells in Hverahlíd to trigger small earthquakes which rebounded in the bedrock and provided data on the nature of the rock to a depth of as much as 5 km. The energy in the explosions was similar to an earthquake of 1.5 on the Richter scale. One notification was sent to the seismic activity division of the Icelandic Meteorological Office and the Department of Civil Protection Unit of the Icelandic Police Department as a result of this. The earthquakes were not felt in Hverahlíd or in populated areas.

Reykjavík Energy participates in three European Union projects, aimed at boosting knowledge on the interplay between the utilisation of geothermal energy and seismic activity. The projects involve more seismic activity measurements in the area, greater monitoring and more detailed seismic activity research.

Geothermal Park in Hellisheidi

Climate action Affordable and clean energy Industry, innovation and infrastructure Promotes UN‘s Sustainable Development Goals

The Geothermal Park at the Hellisheidi Power Plant is used to discover new and diverse ways to utilise thermal energy, electricity, water and geothermal gases from the plant. The use of various energy streams from geothermal utilisation can increase efficiency and strengthen environmentally friendly operations and innovation in the business community. Energy-related natural resource streams are utilised in the operation of the Geothermal Park.

Geothermal Park in Hellisheidi

Overview of current operations in the Geothermal Park at the Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plant

An example of the efficient use of natural resources is the cultivation of microalgae, using various energy-related sources, by the international start-up company Algaennovation, which opened a microalgae facility in ON Power’s Geothermal Park in September 2019. Feed is produced for juveniles using microalgae, which is a source of multiple nutritive elements such as Omega-3 fatty acids. The goal is to produce it for human consumption in the future. Separated water from the Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plant is used for the production of dietary supplements by the GeoSilica company. A considerable amount of carbon dioxide goes into electricity production in Hellisheiði. Numerous start-up businesses have shown an interest in using carbon dioxide and other sources from the plant.

ON Power produces hydrogen at the Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plant on an experimental basis. The installation of an electrolyzer for the production of hydrogen is part of the Hydrogen Mobility Europe project which ON Power participates in. The aim is to develop new power streams and to produce fuel such as hydrogen sulphide for public and corporate use as part of the green transformation of transport.

Strict requirements are imposed on companies that intend to operate in the ON Power Geothermal Park. Companies are required to re-use any vegetation disturbed during the construction phase of their projects. They must either replant vegetation or utilise it elsewhere.

My carbon footprint

7.39 tons CO2 equivalents per year An Icelander’s carbon footprint is about 12 tons per year

Ragnheiður Hrefna Magnúsdóttir

Head of production, Veitur Utilities

I seem to have a carbon footprint that is below average. This is probably because I drive an electric vehicle, but I see countless opportunities to lower my carbon footprint. What surprises me the most is how much consumption has to say. I need to review my consumption habits and try to reduce my trips abroad or at least offset the carbon emissions. It would be great if Iceland were to take a serious step by banning plastic packaging. It’s really crazy to think how much packaging we throw away every week.

Wastewater System Discharge

Clean water and sanitation Sustainable cities and communities Life below water Promotes UN‘s Sustainable Development Goals

Veitur Utilities manages the development and operation of waste water systems in Reykjavik, Akranes and Borgarbyggd in West Iceland. Drainage from Kópavogur, Mosfellsbaer and Seltjarnarnes, in addition to parts of Gardabaer, is handled in waste water treatment plants at Ánanaust and Klettagardar, i.e. from about 60% of the population.

EN_Fráveita 2018.png

Wastewater from about 60% of the population in Iceland is treated in sewage treatment plants at Ánanaust and Klettagardar in Reykjavík

Sewage treatmentplants in Vesturland

Sewage treatment plants in Vesturland

Local residents and the business community have access to utility systems and sewage treatment plants in accordance with the law and regulations.

Veitur Utilities’ long term objective is to ensure the city’s coastline is always clean. According to Reykjavík’s 2010-2030 Municipal Plan, the shore is defined as an outdoor recreational area. However, the discharge of unfiltered sewage via overflows is an inseparable part of the sewage system which has been built up over decades. This will continue to be the case in the immediate future, despite Veitur Utilities’ best efforts. The annex provides data on the discharge of unfiltered sewage via all the main overflows and emergency outlets of Veitur Utilities’ sewerage systems.

Examples of measures taken to reduce the discharge of unfiltered sewage via overflows are the development of procedures to systematically search for leaks and the revision of the design of new pumping stations. Water that leaks into the sewerage system takes up space and increases the probability that the flow along the pipes [BF1] and pumping stations will exceed maximum capacity with a consequent discharge via overflows. An altered design of the sewage pumping stations could substantially increase their up-time and increase the possibility of conducting maintenance work without halting operations. These measures would also help to improve the working environment and safety of employees. Long-term plans are underway to separate unwanted water from the sewage system. The mixture of sewage and surface water now accounts for 28% of the sewage collection system. The flow of surface water is determined by the weather, causing fluctuations in flow making it almost impossible to avoid overflow discharges from the mixed sewage system in a cost-effective manner.

The results of measurements on waste water pollution on the periphery of the dilution area in Faxaflói in 2019 showed that the number of microbes was below the threshold for enterococci and faecal coliform in all of the 32 measurements taken in 2019. In the vicinity of the overflow channels of Veitur Utilities in Reykjavik and elsewhere along the city's shore, 90 samples out of 100 were below the limit for enterococci, which means very little or no faecal contamination, according to Regulation 796/1999 on the prevention of water pollution. Some 99 samples were below the limit for faecal coliform (see annex).

The concentration of micro-organisms in the vicinity of outlets from Veitur Utilities’ biological sewage treatment plants in West Iceland exceeded the limits prescribed in the operating licence over the past few years. See annual overview reports of sampling and measurements, which are accessible on Veitur Utilities’ website.

The waste water discharge report of the treatment plants can be found in the appendices.

Blue-green surface water solutions

Veitur Utilities is working on the implementation of blue-green surface water solutions in cooperation with various municipalities to slow down the flow of rainwater on streets, roads and other areas above the sewage system. Residents and businesses can also make their contribution by curbing the flow from their premises with blue-green surface water solutions, thus reducing the flow and likelihood of discharge of overflow into the sewage system. Veitur Utilities has conducted assessments of the impact of overflow solutions on the capacity of new surface water pipelines in Laugardalur in Reykjavík.

Microplastics in drainage

Research conducted on the presence of microplastics in drainage at the treatment plant in Klettagardar has revealed that some quantity was found. This is a manifestation of a widespread problem, but most of the indications are that large quantities of microplastics are carried out into the environment with little hindrance in Iceland[BF2] , see report on microplastics in the ocean by Iceland in annex. Most indicators suggest that surface water carries a substantially greater volume of microplastics into the sea than sewage. The microplastics problem is a focal point in the development of Veitur Utilities’ future vision for the filtering of sewage and surface water.

Restoration of Disturbed areas

Climate action Life on land Promotes UN‘s Sustainable Development Goals

The Reykjavik Energy Group is responsible for about 19,000 hectares of land, some 16,000 hectares of which are within protected areas (see annex). The annex also contains a list of the species of birds and plants on the 'Red List' whose local habitat is located in these areas. An emphasis is placed on the restoration and reclamation of the natural environment and reducing the visual impact of Reykjavik Energy’s power plant areas and the operating areas of Veitur Utilities, the Reykjavik Fiber Network and Reykjavik Energy. This is done in collaboration with the licensing authorities and in accordance with the objectives of the Reykjavik Energy Group.

Birch trees were planted on 2.6 hectares of land by the Nesjavellir Geothermal Power Plant. About 3.1 hectares were cultivated with local vegetation in 2019, 1.8 hectares of which were planted due to construction work and 1.3 hectares was planted as part of further land improvements (see annex). ON Power plans to expand the land reclamation area by 4 hectares per year in eroded zones outside the company’s operating areas and to allocate 4 hectares of land per year to silviculture.

Reykjavik Energy is responsible for about 130 km of marked walking paths in the Hengill area which have significantly deteriorated as a result of increased hiking traffic. Sensitive areas were closed off and walking paths were moved in the summer of 2019.

Hiking trails in the vicinity of the Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plant

Hiking trails in the vicinity of the Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plant-Photo: Belinda Eir Engilbertsdóttir -

Use of Hazardous Substances

Good health and well-being Life below water Promotes UN‘s Sustainable Development Goals

The main hazardous substances used by the Reykjavik Energy Group are asbestos, the base material used in insulation foam, chlorine, acids and bases, welding gases, geothermal gases, oil and solvents. In 2019, hazardous substances were used as much as in previous years. The improvements that have been undertaken regarding the storage, sorting and disposal of hazardous substances have increased employee awareness of the importance of these issues and has minimised the use and discharge of hazardous materials. In 2019, workshops on hazardous substances were held for employees who work with these substances. An emphasis was also placed on marking hazardous substances and putting up posters with instructions.