Green by Iceland at E-World 2023: What can other countries learn from Iceland when it comes to geothermal energy?

Essen, May 23rd – Today’s geopolitical situation has shown, that countries all over the world are in dire needs of expanding their energy solutions in the race to reach carbon neutrality and ensuring energy security for the long term. Green by Iceland is exhibiting at this year’s E-World in Essen, Germany (booth 1-217) and will show how Iceland has harnessed renewable energy for over 100 years, first and foremost geothermal energy. And while many might argue that Iceland has a unique advantage when it comes to this particular way of power generation, the process and technology can be a solid blueprint for other countries as well to face today’s challenges.

According to the International Energy heating for homes, industry, and other applications accounts for around half of total energy consumption. This makes heat the world's largest energy end use, accounting for almost half of global final energy consumption in 2021, significantly more than electricity (20%) and transport (30%) and this is where geothermal can come into play.

From heating a city to powering a country

Iceland’s journey is a case example of how a country can push its boundaries to make the most of the natural resources and favorable conditions are at hand. As in Europe now a series of crises and the need for finding alternative means to energy coupled with visionary leadership in the early 1900s lead to bold political decisions and large rollout of Iceland ‘s geothermal and hydro power projects throughout the 20th century.

The initial idea behind the first large geothermal drilling project was to produce electricity for the town of Reykjavík, that was rapidly growing. Now, nearly a century later, over 60% of the primary energy use in Iceland stems from the direct use of geothermal. According to Iceland ‘s National Energy Authority it is estimated that Iceland saves around 3.5% of GDP on an annual basis as a result of geothermal use. So, whilst other nations in the European market have felt the exponential rise of the energy prices, prices in Iceland have remained stable and the access to energy has been secure. Today the price per kWh ranges from 6.98-9.19 ISK or 4.5-6 cents EUR whilst average prices in Europe range between 30-40 cents per kWh. Geothermal resources are used to generate electricity, heat houses and swimming pools, grow food in greenhouses, recycle plastics, and produce a variety of skincare products. Furthermore, geothermal power plants have become a hotbed for innovation such as capturing and storing carbon emissions.

Exporting geothermal expertise and knowledge

But can the Icelandic use of geothermal be exported to other countries? While one aspect for the success is surely Iceland’s nature, its volcanoes and geysers, but even more important is the power of its people. Iceland has built considerable expertise and knowledge when it comes to the entire value chain of geothermal from research to operations. As a result, Icelandic companies and their experts are now part of geothermal projects in different parts of the world.

So far, over 80 countries have implemented geothermal to some extent but very few at a large scale but the opportunity to invest and ramp up now certainly exists. That goes for many countries within Europe and other parts of the world that have an abundance of heat hidden beneath the ground and favorable conditions to develop especially when it comes to the direct use of geothermal and central heating. Therefore, countries such as Germany, Poland, France, Hungary, Slovakia, and other European nations have reason to put geothermal on their agenda and are doing so. From a global perspective Iceland’s emissions don’t count high in that broad sense but the small country in the North-Atlantic has huge ambitions to lend those countries a helping hand in accelerating the green transition.

Green by  Iceland @ E-World 2023

Green by Iceland and its partner companies can be found at stand 1-217.

About Business Iceland and Green by Iceland

Business Iceland, a public-private partnership established to lead the promotion and marketing of Iceland in foreign markets and stimulate economic growth through increased export, launched the Green by Iceland initiative in 2021 to increase the export of renewable energy expertise and sustainable solutions from Iceland. Within Iceland Green by Iceland also works to strengthen the collaboration between the private and public sectors when it comes to reaching and carbon neutrality by 2040.

With more than 40 partners, Green by Iceland supports and leverages renewable energy projects in Iceland and provides a platform for knowledge sharing. Green by Iceland website showcases circular stories of businesses and projects that are leading the way in renewable energy.

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Picture material can be downloaded here.

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