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Power Plants

Iceland’s largest power plant is the 690 MW Fljótsdalsstöð Hydropower Station in Northeast Iceland. The following list includes all hydro- and geothermal power stations in Iceland, with installed power of 10 MW or more.  Dozens of smaller hydropower stations are not included in this list. The order is based on year of starting operation. Hydropower stations are marked in blue, and geothermal power stations are marked in green:

◊  Sog Hydropower Stations (Sogsvirkjanir).

-  Total installed power: 90 MW.
–  Annual generation: 500 GWh.
-  The first Sog Station started operating in 1937.
-  Operator: Landsvirkjun (since 1966).

The Sog Hydropower Stations are three power stations utilizing the river Sog in Southwest Iceland. The river is the outflow of Lake Þingvallavatn. Sog was originally harnessed to provide electricity for Reykjavik, which until then had only been supplied by the small Elliðaár Station on the outskirts of the city.

The first station at the Sog river was Ljósifoss Station, originally providing 8.8 MW. It started operating  in 1937. Later two additional stations were built a bit further downstream in the river; Írafoss Station that came into operation in 1953 and Steingríms Station that became operational in 1956. Between 1996 and 2000 all three Sog Hydropower Stations went through a major renovation. Today, they have total installed power capacity of 90 MW (15MW, 48 MW, and 27 MW).

◊  Laxá Hydropower Stations (Laxárstöðvar).

-  Installed power: 27.5 MW in three power stations (5 MW, 9 MW and 13,5 MW).
–  Total annual generation: 180 GWh.
–  Started operating: 1939, 1953, and 1973.
–  Operator: Landsvirkjun (since 1983).

The Laxá Station utilizes the head in Laxá Canyon (107 m in total). The crystal clear river Laxá (Salmon River) is the outflow from Lake Mývatn in Northeast Iceland. All three power stations are running river projects. The first Laxá Station – constructed in 1939 – was one an important step in building up Iceland’s electricity generation and the stations played a key role in electrification of northern Iceland.

◊  Búrfell Hydropower Station (Búrfellsvirkjun).

-  Installed power: 270 MW (6 x 45 MW generating units).
–  Annual generation: 2,090 GWh.
–  Started operating: 1969 (increased power installed 1996-98).
–  Operator: Landsvirkjun.

Hydropower development of the glacial rivers Þjórsá and Tungnaá in South-Iceland started in 1966, with the construction of Búrfell Station. This was the first large-scale industrial power plant in Iceland. Installed power was originally 210 MW but with upgraded turbines in the 1990s the installed capacity increased to 270 MW. Búrfell Station was the first of many hydropower projects in the Tungnaá and Þjórsá rivers, now a cluster of five stations with a sixth currently under construction.

◊  Svartsengi Geothermal Station (Virkjunin í Svartsengi).

-  Installed power: 75 MW (electricity) and 150 MW in thermal energy.
–  Annual generation: Not official.
–  Started operating (first phase): 1976.
–  Operator: HS Orka.

Svartsengi Station began electrical power production in 1976 with subterranean steam, becoming the first power plant in Iceland to combine electrical power production and energy development for home heating. The plant was built in six phases, the last completed in 2008.

◊  Sigalda Hydropower Station (Sigölduvirkjun).

-  Installed power: 150 MW (3 x 50 MW generating units).
–  Annual generation: 650 GWh.
–  Started operating: 1977.
–  Operator: Landsvirkjun.

Sigalda Station was Landsvirkjun’s second large hydro project after the Búrfell Hydropower Station. The Sigalda Station stands alone in the black and barren Icelandic outback, approximately 10 km north of Hrauneyjafoss Station (see below). Like Hrauneyjafoss Station it utilizes the Tungnaá river. The station is serviced by staff at Hrauneyjafoss Station.

◊  Krafla Geothermal Station (Kröfluvirkjun).

-  Installed power: 60 MW (2×30 MW).
–  Annual generation: 480 GWh.
–  Started operating: 1978.
–  Operator: Landsvirkjun.

Original installed power was 30 MW but in 1996 another turbine was installed. On average, 15-17 boreholes are used at any one time out of the 33 boreholes that have been drilled. More drilling has proved substantially more energy in the area. Thus, expansion of the Krafla Station is underway and will probably come into operation within few years.

Krafla Geothermal Station was the second power plant in Iceland to use geothermal steam for electricity generation. The first was the small Bjarnarflag Geothermal Station (Bjarnarflagsvirkjun), built in 1969 with installed power: 3 MW. The Bjarnarflag Station was multipurpose, providing not only steam for electricity production but also supplying steam to a neighboring diatomite plant (now closed) and heating to the local district heating system. The station uses steam from the geothermal field by Námafjall and is the smallest power station owned by Landsvirkjun.

◊  Hrauneyjafoss Hydropower Station (Hrauneyjafossvirkjun).

-  Installed power: 210 MW (3 x 70 MW generating units).
–  Annual generation: 960 GWh.
–  Started operating: 1981.
–  Operator: Landsvirkjun.

Hrayneyjafoss Station harnesses the glacial river Tungnaá before it falls into Þjórsá. The Station is currently the third largest hydropower station in Iceland. The name Hrauneyjajfoss means literally Lava Islands Waterfall.

◊  Blanda Hydropower Station (Blönduvirkjun).

-  Installed power: 150 MW (3 x 50 MW generating units).
–  Annual generation: 720 GWh.
–  Started operating: 1991 (full capacity since 1992).
–  Operator: Landsvirkjun.

Blanda Station is quite unique among Icelandic hydropower stations, as its powerhouse is located underground at a depth of more than 200 m. The powerhouse is accessible by underground elevator and also by vehicles through a tunnel. This was the first hydropower plant in Iceland designed entirely by Icelanders.

◊  Nesjavellir Geothermal Station (Nesjavallavirkjun).

-  Installed power: 120 MW.
-  Annual generation: Not official.
-  Started operating: 1996.
–  Operator: Orkuveita Reykjavíkur.

Nesjavellir Station generates electricity and hot water by utilizing geothermal water and steam. Geothermal exploration in the area started as early as 1947, with a few experimental boreholes drilled at that time. However, it was not until the late 1980s that the construction of the geothermal station began.

◊  Sultartangi Hydropower Station (Sultartangavirkjun).

-  Installed power: 120 MW (2 x 60 MW generating units).
–  Annual generation: 880 GWh.
–  Started operating: 1999.
–  Operator: Landsvirkjun.

Sultartangi Station harnesses water from Tungná river, similar to the Hrauneyjafoss and Sigalda Stations, as well as from the river Thjórsá. Before the construction of Sultartangi Station, Landsvirkjun had built power stations at Sigalda and Hrauneyjafoss on the river Tungnaá, Búrfell Station on the river Thjórsá, and an underground station at river Blanda. The Sultartangi dam is the longest in Iceland, reaching 6.1 km.

 Vatnsfell Hydropower Station (Vatnsfellsstöð).

-  Installed power: 90 MW (2 x 45 MW generating units).
–  Annual generation: 430 GWh.
–  Started operating: 2001.
–  Operator: Landsvirkjun.

Vatnsfell Station is one more project in the hydropower cluster harnessing the glacial rivers Tungnaá and Þórsá. It differs from the other stations by generating most of its electricity in winter only, when electricity consumption in Iceland peaks (due to the dark winters and colder weather).

◊  Reykjanes Geothermal Station (Reykjanesvirkjun).

-  Installed power: 100 MW.
–  Annual generation: Not official.
–  Started operating: 2006.
–  Operator: HS Orka.

The Reykjanes Station was designed to be controlled from a distance, namely from a control room in Svartsengi owned by the same operator. There are plans for expansion of the station in the near future, which would double its output.

◊  Hellisheiði Geothermal Station (Hellisheiðarvirkjun).

-  Installed power: 303 MW (electricity) and 130 MW in thermal energy.
–  Annual generation: Not official.
–  Started operating: 2006.
–  Operator: Orkuveita Reykjavíkur.

Hellisheiði Station is situated at Hengill, a geothermal active ridge in SW Iceland.  Plans are for substantial enlargement in forthcoming years.

◊  Fljótsdalur Hydropower Station and Kárahnjúkar Dam (Fljótsdalsstöð / Kárahnjúkavirkjun).

-  Installed power: 690 MW (6 x 115 MW generating units).
–  Annual generation: 4,600 GWh.
–  Started operating: 2007.
–  Operator: Landsvirkjun.

With the construction of Fljótsdalur Hydropower Station, installed capacity of Landsvirkjun expanded from about 1,200 MW to more than 1,900 MW. The power plant utilizes glacial rivers north of Vatnajökull glacier in Northeast Iceland. Several dams form a large reservoir of 57 km2 on the highland plateau. The water level at full reservoir is 625 m above sea level. Largest of the dams (Kárahnjúkar dam) is 198 m high and 700 m long. The head for power production is quite extreme at 599 m. The energy production at the Fljótsdalur Station is transmitted to Alcoa’s aluminum smelter at Reyðarfjörður on Iceland’s east coast.

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The power plants above include all stations constructed in Iceland so far, with installed power of more than 10 MW. Annual generation of each station is according to most recent information. Due to increasing demand for the competitively priced green Icelandic electricity & energy, the list is steadily becoming longer. Our website will also inform you about all important upcoming energy projects in the country.