Iceland considers introduction of wind power and strengthens circular economy | Polar Jobs

Iceland considers introduction of wind power and strengthens circular economy

Julia Hager, PolarJournal | 19 July 2022

Iceland already produces plenty of clean energy, but the answer to meeting its climate goals may be blowing in the wind

The land of fire and ice — and wind (? Green by Iceland)

Around the world, the introduction of alternative energy sources is being increasingly examined in view of the growing impact of climate change and, in part, because of the war in Ukraine. Wind power is particularly high on the agenda. This is also the case in Iceland, where the government recently formed a working group to look into wind power. In order to achieve its climate targets, Iceland also wants to promote a circular economy in order to use its resources more efficiently.

Although Iceland is already able to cover 99.9% of its electricity needs with hydropower and geothermal energy, the government wants to expand the power grid with energy from wind power. The three-member working group is expected to complete its work by 1 Feb of next year. A part of its remit will be to study the problems wind turbines pose for people and nature. In addition to the large amount of land they consume, wind turbines can be particularly dangerous to birds.

“To achieve our climate goals, we need to use wind. However, it is important to reach the broadest possible consensus on its use. As with any green energy production, there must be a balance between conservation and use. I have high hopes for the work of this group,” Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson, a member of the cabinet whose portfolio includes energy, climate and the environment, said in a press release.

Mr Þórðarson emphasised the importance of finding a broad consensus among Icelanders on the construction of wind farms and to take into account visual effects, wildlife and nature. If a decision is in favour of wind power, the turbines will be built in areas near existing substations and power lines to minimise the impact on the environment. So far, there are only two wind turbines in Iceland.

Iceland would need to establish a legal framework for establishing wind-power, and the working group is expected to look at the approaches taken by Norway, Denmark, Scotland and New Zealand, where the conditions for the use of wind energy are similar to those in Iceland.

Just days after the wind power plans were announced, Mr Þórðarson announced funding for 22 projects to strengthen the circular economy totalling 230 million króna (€1.65 million).

“The introduction of a circular economy is an important part of Iceland achieving its climate goals,” Mr Þórðarson said. “It is therefore gratifying and optimistic to see the level of interest in this area, and it will be interesting to follow the development of the projects that are being promoted here.”

The projects will seek to:

  • prevent waste
  • improve waste separation
  • make it easier to recycle as close to the source as possible
  • promote recycling in general
  • stimulate innovation and development of equipment that reduces waste volume or facilitates sorting, recycling and recovery

The projects receiving funding include:

  • Green chemical products from waste and emissions
  • Use of plastic waste instead of coal in silicon metal and alloy production
  • Recycling of building materials
  • Organic fertiliser from salmon farming
  • Adding value by reducing waste from fish processing

More about this topic

Wind power in Iceland
Waste treatment in iceland

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