'Alterra Power/Magma Energy' Tag Archive

Aug 12 2010
1 Comment

The Energy Export and the Privatisation of HS Orka


It has hardly escaped the attention of anyone living in Iceland of late, that the Canadian geothermal company, Magma Energy, recently bought Geysir Green Energy´s (another geothermal energy company) stock in HS Orka (southwest-peninsula power company), making Magma a majority stockholder with 98,5% partnership. Magma´s purchase of GGE´s stock comes as no surprise whereas it´s been clear from the onset that Magma intended to claim majority ownership over HS Orka.

Small and Cute – For Concerned Icelanders

Ross Beaty, CEO of Magma Energy, has repeatedly been asked if he´s exploiting Iceland´s economic turmoil to claim control over the country´s resources, which he has always denied. On the 26th of August last year when he appeared on Kastljós, an ‘after-news special’ program on RUV (Icelandic National Broadcasting Association), Beaty also denied being interested in more power plants. “No, we´re focusing on this now. This is a small nation and it doesn´t serve our purposes to become to big”.

Because of exactly these comments, the announcement that HS Orka had sought permission to do test drilling in Hrunamannaafrétti, from Flúðir and into Kerlingarfjöll in search of geothermal areas garnered a considerate ammount of attention. Keep in mind that a research permission is not a permission to raise a power plant, but still, just drilling one test hole can cause a considerate ammount of damage on pristine land. Then, just a few days later, RUV news reported that Suðurorka, an energy company owned by HS Orka and The Icelandic Power Company (a consulting company), has plans of building a dam in Skaftárhreppur, the 150 MW Búlandsdam, over the next four years. HS Orka seems therefore to be on the warpath.

Read More

Jul 19 2010
7 Comments

Petition for a Referendum on Energy Resources


A petition has been launched, aimed at getting the authorities to thwart the sale of HS Orka (eothermal energy company) to Magma. To sign the petition you have to have an Icelandic I.D. number, and sign that along with your name on the website Orkuaudlindir.is

Following is the announcement from the group behind the petition along with the demands:

Within few days, the final deals concerning Magma Energy Sweden AB’s purchase of HS Orka will get signed. That will give Magma the full private right of utilization over these important and valuable resources for the next 65 years, with a possibility for a further 65 year extension! The company is buying these rights into our resources very cheaply compared to other countries, for an unusually long time compared to other countries and on terms which seem to benefit the buyer in all aspects. Some arguments have been made, stating that we can’t afford not to sell wheras the country needs foreign investors into the country to create employment. But the fact of the matter is that Magma is actually getting the main part of the loans for the purchase in Iceland – on terms which for some reason are not on offer to other companies. Read More

Jul 13 2010
4 Comments

Saving Iceland Mobilisation Call-Out


... Join our resistance against the industrialization of Europe’s last remaining great wilderness and take direct action against heavy industry!

The Struggle So Far
The campaign to defend Europe’s greatest remaining wilderness continues. For the past five years summer direct action camps in Iceland have targeted aluminium smelters, mega-dams and geothermal power plants.

After the terrible destruction as a result of building Europe’s largest dam at Kárahnjúkar and massive geothermal plants at Hengill, there is still time to crush the ‘master plan’ that would have each major glacial river dammed, every substantial geothermal field exploited and the construction of aluminium smelters, an oil refinery, data farms and silicon factories. This would not only destroy unique landscapes and ecosystems but also lead to a massive increase in Iceland’s greenhouse gas emissions. Read More

May 22 2010
1 Comment

Magma Energy Lied to Us


This article, written by Catharine Fulton was originally published on grapevine.is

Geothermal PlantLet’s cut to the chase. The opacity of Icelandic business and politics has done the country, as a whole, no favours. Much hand shaking and back scratching has gone on behind closed doors and such secluded business environments have proved themselves to be breeding grounds for lies, corruption, fraud, swindling, and downright thievery.

With Icelandic bankers being held in local prisons and wanted by Interpol and the once celebrated “outvasion Vikings” having their pants sued off by the Americans, now is a time to usher in a new, honest era of business in Iceland in an effort to get the country and its economy back on track and to restore the trust of the mass populace in the system.

Read More

May 22 2010

Foreign Energy Concern Set to Buy Nearly All of Icelandic Energy Company


This item, written by Paul Nikolov, originally appeared on grapevine.is, a news site which has been following this case from last summer.

GeysirThe Canadian energy company Magma Energy will soon own 98% of HS Orka, an Icelandic power company. Leftist-Green MP Ögmundur Jónasson believes the government ought to step in and prevent the sale from happening.

In a nutshell, Magma Energy already owns 46% of HS Orka, a measure approved by the conservative-led city council last autumn. Now Magma is set to buy Icelandic energy comapny Geysir Green Energy’s 52% stake in HS Orka. This effectively puts Iceland’s third largest power company in the hands of a foreign company, with very few returns remaining in the country.

Read More

May 20 2010

Magma Energy Takes Over HS Orka


PipelinesThe third largest power company in Iceland, HS Orka (Southern Peninsula Power Company) is in the process of being sold to the Canadian company Magma Energy. Magma already owns 46% of the stocks in HS Orka and is now set on buying Geysir Green Energy´s (GGE) 52% stock, leaving only 2% of the company in Icelandic hand´s. Magma´s takeover of the company started in july of 2009 when Magma bought an 11% share from GGE. Around the time of the purchase, Ross Beaty, Magma’s director stated that the company did not plan to become predominant in H.S. Orka or meddle with the management of the company’s power plants. Now, barely a year later, those words seem long forgotten.

Members of the left wing in the Icelandic government and environmentalists have been criticising the sale, focusing on the fact that a national resource is slipping out of the populations hands and citing laws forbidding investors from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) to own part of Icelandic power companies. But nobody seems to mind the fact that even before the sale of GGE´s share, the majority of HS Orka had already fallen into the hands of foreign investors, though only partly. How so? GGE owned 52% of HS Orka. Íslandsbanki (formerly Glitnir, formerly Íslandsbanki) owned 40% of stocks in GGE, so whereas 95% of Íslandsbanki was in the hands of foreign creditors, many of whom are from outside of the EEA, aproximately 20% of HS Orka was belonging to these foreign creditors. On top of that can be added the fact that all board members of HS Orka at that time were under Íslandsbanki´s control, the bank now headed by former president of Landsvirkjun (National Energy company) and environmental terrorist, Friðrik Sophusson. Like stated above, Magma owned 46% of HS Orka at that time, making the total foreign ownership of the company aproximately 66%.

Read More

Nov 27 2009

Orkuveita Reykjavíkur Losing on Sale to Magma


Orkuveita Reykjavíkur (Reykjavík Energy Company) has lowered the value of a deed issued when Magma Energy bought the companies stocks in H.S. Orka (geothermal energy company). In a statement from OR it states that a lovering of the deed values was made to be in unison with international acounting standards.

Sigrún Elsa Smáradóttir, representative of the Social Democratic Union party in the board of OR announced that the estimated loss because of the stock trade is going to be 4 billion ISKR. There’s reason to believe that the value of the deeds Magma issued is overestimated as well, which will see even further loss come from the sale.

There was huge opposition against the sale from the start and the at the City Council meeting where the voting for the sale took place about 100 people demonstrated and shouted in protest from the balconies. Read more about this here and here.

The majority of the City Council spoke strongly for the sale and the profits that it would reap them, claiming the value to become 6.31 a stock. But the miniorities overlooked critique of the ridiculous loaning agreement has already proven to be true. The 3rd quarter accounts prove this and show that the stock value has fallen to 5.4.

Nov 17 2009
4 Comments

Development of Iceland’s Geothermal Energy Potential for Aluminium Production – A Critical Analysis


By Jaap Krater and Miriam Rose
In: Abrahamsky, K. (ed.) (2010) Sparking a World-wide Energy Revolution: Social Struggles in the Transition to a Post-Petrol World. AK Press, Edinburgh. p. 319-333

Iceland is developing its hydro and geothermal resources in the context of an energy master plan, mainly to provide power for expansion of the aluminium industry. This paper tests perceptions of geothermal energy as low-carbon, renewable and environmentally benign, using Icelandic geothermal industry as a case study.
The application of geothermal energy for aluminium smelting is discussed as well as environmental and human rights record of the aluminium industry in general. Despite application of renewable energy technologies, emission of greenhouse gases by aluminium production is set to increase.
Our analysis further shows that carbon emissions of geothermal installations can approximate those of gas-powered plants. In intensely exploited reservoirs, life of boreholes is limited and reservoirs need extensive recovery time after exploitation, making geothermal exploitation at these sites not renewable in the short to medium term. Pollution and landscape impacts are extensive when geothermal technology is applied on a large scale.

Krater and Rose – Development of Iceland’s Geothermal Energy – Download as PDF
The full publication will be available from Jan. 15, 2010. ISBN 9781849350051.

Oct 10 2009
1 Comment

Blame Canada? – Geothermal Energy, Swedish Shelf Companies and the Privatisation of Iceland


By Austurengjahver, Krýsuvík, Reykjanes - Photo by Ellert Grétarsson From The Reykjavík Grapevine, by Catharine Fulton – One by one men in suits of varying shades of grey approached the podium in the pit of the Reykjavík City Hall. One by one they pleaded their cases while Reykjavík’s esteemed mayor—the fourth in two years—Ms. Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir looked on appearing disinterested in what appeared to be solely a formality. As the council members continued selling the idea of selling Iceland’s resources, a crowd of 100-strong grew more agitated and increasingly vocal from their perch in the viewing gallery of the hall, separated from having a say in their own natural resources by an aesthetically pleasing glass barrier.

“People were screaming, saying that the politicians were traitors,” explained Jón Bjarki Magnússon, a student who arrived at City Hall just in time for the vote. “It was a weird feeling to see it happen, to see these people down on the floor raise their hands and the decision is made and to see all these angry people above them not able to do anything.”

The September 15th city council meeting stretched on for over three hours, during which time onlookers shouted and boo-ed as city council progressed toward approving the 32.32% sale of Iceland’s HS Orka to the Canadian-cum-Swedish firm Magma Energy Corp. Read More

Sep 16 2009

Magma’s Purchase of H.S. Orka Approved – Three Arrested in the City Hall


In the City Hall Read the beginning of this story by clicking here -  Yesterday, the Reykjavík City Council approved Reykjavík Energy’s (O.R.) contract about the company’s selling of their share in H.S. Orka. The share has been purchased by a Canadian geothermal company, Magma Energy, owned by Ross Beaty, a former owner of copper and silver mines companies in Latin America. O.R.’s share was 32% but Magma Energy had already bought 11% in H.S. Orka from Geysir Green Energy (GGE) and therefor owns 43% in the company. Recently, GGE bought the majority share in H.S. Orka from Reykjanesbær council, which means that the access to geothermal energy in the Reykjanes peninsula is now mainly in the hands of private companies. Magma and GGE have already announced ideas of the companies’ unification.

Well over 100 people attended the city council’s meeting yesterday to follow the discussion from the balcony of the council’s main meeting hall. Öskra! – the movement of revolutionary students, had amongst other, called on people to show up and protest against the decision making.  People were very angry and expressed their anger in many different ways; mostly by shouting and interrupting the councilors’ speeches, telling them to get out and calling them traitors. The meeting had to be stopped several times because of the disturbance, which lead to the building’s security guards calling for police assistance. Three men were arrested after one of them threw a role of toilet paper down from the balcony on to the floor were the councilors were sitting. When the police attempted to arrest him, two others tried to de-arrest him, which lead to the arrest of all of them. The arrest was quite brutal, enough to shock many of those who attended the meeting.  Read More