Oct 21 2008

Test Drilling allowed by Krafla and Þeistareykir

The National Planning Institution (Skipulagsstofnun) has announced that test drilling can take place by Krafla and Þeisareykir in North Iceland, despite the joint Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) being made for the construction of an Alcoa smelter in Bakki.
In July this year Þórunn Sveinbjarnardóttir, the Minister of Environment, decided that the joint EIA would have to include the planned smelter, the geothermal power plants that are meant to run the smelter, and the energy transportation. The decision has been heavily criticized by Alcoa and the aluminium lobby but celebrated by environmentalists. Some even think the EIA should include possible dams in Skjálfandafljót and Jökulsá á Fjöllum rivers, saying that the not enough geothermal energy can be produced for the size of Alcoa’s planned smelter.
Alcoa and Landsvirkjun (national energy company) hope to have a conclusion about the construction of the smelter in spring 2009 and start the research drilling the summer 2009. After Sveinbjarnardóttir’s decision Alcoa announced their worries that the project could delay for one year if they would not be allowed to do the test drilling before the EIA will be made. The National Planing Institution has now come to the conclusion that the test drilling has to take place before the EIA.