Jul 20 2007

This post is also available in: Icelandic

Saving Iceland Invades Reykjavik Energy

Saving Iceland Invites Reykjavik Energy to Discuss their Ethics Publicly “STOP PRODUCING ENERGY FOR WAR”

REYKJAVIK – Saving Iceland’s clown army has this afternoon entered the head office of Orkuveita Reykjavíkur (OR, Reykjavik Energy) on Baejarhals 1. Simultaneously, protestors climbed onto the roof of the building unfolding a banner stating ‘Vopnaveita Reykjavíkur’ (Reykjavik arms-dealers). Saving Iceland demands that O.R. stop selling energy to the aluminium corporations Century and ALCAN-RioTinto. 30% of aluminium produced goes to the military and arms-industry (1).

Currently, O.R. are expanding the Hellisheidi geothermal plant at Hengill. “The goal of enlarging Hellisheidarvrikjun is to meet industries demands of energy,” states the Environmental Impact Assessment, particularly the Century expansion at Grundartangi and possible new ALCAN and Century plants at Straumsvik and Helguvik (2, 3).

The expansion of the Alcan smelter in Hafnarfjordur has been rejected by referendum, and other smelter projects in the south west are not definite. The current Icelandic government says to oppose more smelters, but Hellisheidi is still being expanded at a cost of 379.06 million dollars (2). The Icelandic people will be blackmailed. Once the expansion is completed, this will force Iceland into more smelters because the electricity needs to be sold to get investments back. In the mean time, farmers pay twice as much for electricity as Century does (4).

“Much of the aluminium produced goes directly to the war efforts of the US, Russia and others. Alumium is the single most important bulk metal for modern warfare (5). It is the most important metal for missiles, tanks, fighter planes, and nuclear weapons. It’s as if Iceland is organizing a competition which company – ALCOA, Alcan – Rio Tinto or Century-RUSAL – has committed the most human rights and environmental crimes to decide who to sell energy. Vopnaveita Reykjavíkur should not supply energy to any of these murderers.” says Saving Iceland’s Snorri Páll Jónsson Úlfhildarson.

Environmental Impacts of Hellisheidarvirkjun
The expansion of the power plant is itself not as green as O.R. suggests. Hot and toxic waste water is either disposed of by pumping it back into the borehole (as at Nesjavellir), commonly increasing the frequency of earthquakes in this very active fault zone, or it is pumped untreated into streams and lakes, wiping out valuable ecosystems as treatment is considered too expensive. The Northern end of lake Thingvallavatn is already biologically dead in parts due to wastewater pumping and must be protected from more damage.
Tourism will also be negatively affected. Extraction of underground fluids leads to changes in groundwater movements, commonly including drying of unique hot springs and geysers and pollution of pure subsurface spring water (6, 7).
Four endangered bird species are negatively affected: the falcon, greylag goose, harlequin duck and raven (8).

— ENDS —

More information:
Phone: Snorri Páll Jónsson Úlfhildarson


1. Bauxite and Aluminous Laterite. (2nd edition), London: Technical Press.
R. Graham, 1982, p. 250.
2. European Investment Bank, http://www.eib.org/projects/pipeline/200…
3. VGK, Environmental Impact Assesment fot Helisheidarvirkjun, http://www.vgk.is/hs/Skjol/UES/SH_matssk…, page 2 and other pages.
4. Iceland Review, June 7th, 20007, /?p=821.
5.. S. Das & F. Padel, “Double Death – Aluminium’s Links with Genocide”, Economic and Political Weekly, Dec. 2005, also available at /doubledeath
6. Kristmannsdóttir, H, and Armannsson. H, 2003. ‘Environmental aspects of geothermal energy utilization.’ in Geothermics vol.32, p.451-461.
7. Rybach, L, 2003. ‘Geothermal energy: sustainability and the environment.’ Geothermics. vol.32, p.463-470.
8. Idem 3, p.24.

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