Icelanders and Energy
Icelanders consume higher energy per capita than in any nations of the world. In 2010 alone, the average Icelander consumes 196,340 kWh of energy. That is 11,000 kWh more energy than the average citizen of Trinidad and Tobago which is number two in the list of highest consumers all over the world, with 185, 068 kWh and roughly twice as much as of the fifth ranked which has 97,029 kWh consumption per capita. For some added perspective, the total consumption of primary energy in Iceland back in 2010 was 62.4 TWh. That means, Iceland’s sparse population of 320,000 spends more energy than those in countries like Estonia that has around 1.27 million population, Philippines with 96.71 million population and Paraguay with 645 million population!
*The illustration of this power plant was intended to describe the functions of the power plant rather than accurately depicts its thermodynamic cycles.
So what explains this seemingly wasteful energy consumption usage?
The answer in short is; Over Abundance.
Iceland has a very rich water supply and potential for hydroelectric power generation is immense. The country is also situated on the boundaries of the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates and as a result, there’s plenty of cheap geothermal and renewable energy to go around. All of Iceland’s electricity generation comes from these resources. And 81% of the countries total supply of primary energy is considered renewable. A good example of how Icelanders utilize their energy is Svartsengi geothermal energy plant a few separate boreholes heat the power plant turbines with natural steam converting thermal energy to electricity. The steam is then cooled and condensed for the most part, and while the bulk come to waste water is pumped back to the ground for recirculation, a portion of it is dumped into the surrounding lava field. The resulting pool of waste water, is the world famous Blue Lagoon geothermal spa. The Svartsengi geothermal energy plant also uses the steam to heat up a supply of fresh water, which is then transported into the surrounding residential and commercial areas, this is common practice throughout the country.
90% of Iceland’s space heating are through geothermal, it is used to warm the houses and Iceland’s geothermal swimming pools, which give the country’s defense against the off hostile climate in the Arctic region. Rather than stranding the use of the readily and freely available energy, the government imposed to utilize it fully in a sustainable manner. As an example is that the government is offering small communities some means by which they could further develop their geothermal capabilities. Another example is Iceland’s aluminum industry, which owns up to spending 75% of Iceland’s electricity consumption. Although controversial this supply driven power intensity provides isolated country the way to export its electricity. So to speak were offering manufactures greener industrial type or alternative.
The Icelanders use a high amount of energy because it’s readily available, relatively cheap and the cold Arctic climate calls for it. The government is positive that consumption is supposed to conservation, the truth is further to this behavior. However, Iceland’s unique amendments and renewable energy is used to medicate its environmental effects.