Open communication and knowledge dissemination
Landsvirkjun is a state owned energy company and plays an important role within society. We are committed to providing information to the public and to creating a platform for the views and interests of those affected, by creating a forum for discussion. We want to help the public to familiarise themselves with our operations.
We are committed to achieving widespread consensus on the balance between environmental, social and profitability issues in our operations. The Company wants to contribute to the sustainable development of society; it is a leader in environmental matters and is committed to social responsibility. The Company fulfils external requirements, government, laws and regulations, and other requirements made with regard to its operations.
Our communication policy is to create support and consensus through open communication with stakeholders.
Landsvirkjun holds a number of open meetings every year to share information on its operations. The issues discussed are varied and call for open communication with stakeholders all over the country. Landsvirkjun held six, well attended, open meetings this year where the public were able to familiarise themselves with our operations.
The question “Does the Future Need Energy?” was the main focus of Landsvirkjun’s Annual Meeting, held at the Hilton Reykjavík Nordica, on the 26th of April, 2017. Benedikt Jóhannesson, Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs and Jónas Þór Guðmundsson, Chairman of the Landsvirkjun Board of Directors both addressed the audience. Hörður Arnarson, CEO of Landsvirkjun and Ragna Árnadóttir, Deputy CEO gave an overview of the year’s results and operations. They also discussed the future of energy matters in Iceland and elsewhere.
A report on “The Energy Market at a Crossroads” was presented at an open meeting held at the Hilton Reykjavík Nordica. Over 300 people attended the meeting. The economists Helge Sigurds Næss-Schmidt and Martin Bo Westh Hansen addressed the audience. Þórdís Kolbrún R. Gylfadóttir, Minister of Tourism, Industry and Innovation and Hörður Arnarson, CEO of Landsvirkjun also gave presentations.
Landsvirkjun has produced renewable energy since it began operations. Global awareness on the environment and climate change has increased the value of renewable electricity. Our experts discussed the value of this commodity during our Autumn Meeting. The impact of climate change on energy production and utilisation within the Icelandic system was discussed. There was also a discussion on the worldwide, increased demand for renewable energy and how it can be used responsibly and sustainably.
Landsvirkjun launched a Sustainability Initiative (SI) in Northeast Iceland in 2015. The aim of the project was to monitor the social, environmental and economic development of the area affected by the Þeistareykir Geothermal Power Station, tourism and by the build-up of industry at Bakki.
The first part of the year was spent validating the indicators for the project, that the data used to develop these indicators is accessible. A cost analysis was subsequently conducted and a plan was developed for data purchases in connection with the monitoring of the project. Initially, it was assumed that the scope of the data collection would only cover the years 2015 and 2016, but data will now be retrieved as far back as 2011 or as far as possible, without creating additional costs.
Preparation work for the project's website began in February and the steering committee suggested that the domain www.gaumur.is be used for the project. Data collection and data processing continued alongside preparation work for the website.
Ten years have elapsed since monitoring began on sustainability indicators via the sustainability initiative in East Iceland. The Social Science Research Institute at the University of Iceland was contacted and asked to conduct an evaluation of the social indicators of the project to commemorate this milestone. These indicators were analysed with reference to the social indicators from Statistics Iceland. A report on the results of the audit was published in December 2017. Among the topics discussed were the project's scope, the development and objectives of the sixteen social indicators of the project as well as the benefits and follow-up on these results. The outcome of the audit is intended as a guide for the project's participants in the review and follow-up of the project.
The report and other information on the project indicators as well as its progress can be accessed on the project website: www.sjalfbaerni.is.
The collaboration between the energy industry and tourism industry has been successful so far. The access and facilities provided by energy projects have often been positive for tourism. The construction of power stations and connected operations has often proved popular with tourists. Good examples of this include the Blue Lagoon, the Mývatn Nature Baths, the Hellisheiði Geothermal Power Plant, and the energy exhibition in Reykjanes and Landsvirkjun’s visitor centres in Ljósafoss, Búrfell, Krafla and the Kárahnjúkar Dam.
These visits from foreign visitors provide revenue each year which is likely to increase in the years to come. The results of a survey conducted by the University of Iceland showed that almost half of the respondents would be likely to visit the visitor centres, at geothermal or hydropower stations, during their next visit.
Renewable energy sources are a large part of Iceland´s image and there is a great opportunity for energy-based tourism for the country as a whole.
The University of Iceland conducted a study for Landsvirkjun this year with the aim of exploring the impact of manmade structures on the tourist experience of nature in Iceland. An operational power station was chosen for the study including both the reservoir and the station, which is in the vicinity of a popular tourist route in the highland area.
The survey results show that the majority of tourists in the Blanda area were pleased with their stay. The majority of tourists or 89% experience the area as a natural landscape. Approximately 92% considered the untouched wilderness to be part of the area's attractiveness, despite the presence of power station structures such as reservoirs, dams, canals, roads and power lines. It could therefore be said that the Blanda Hydropower station does not disturb the image of the highlands as an untouched wilderness in the eyes of the tourists who go there.
The report states that the fact that the Blanda Hydropower Station does not disturb the tourist experience is a clear indication that the design of the station is successful and works well with the surrounding landscape.
“This is the first time such an extensive survey is conducted on the tourist experience of power stations in operation in Iceland. The power industry and tourism can clearly work well together if the design process of power stations is well thought out. It is important that new buildings and other structures outside the urban area in Iceland take the protection of nature into account and merge with the landscape.”
Hörður Arnarson, CEO of Landsvirkjun
Landsvirkjun has over the years received visitors and educated them on renewable energy sources. Landsvirkjun opens its power stations to visitors who want to know more about the Company's operations and electricity generation from renewable energy sources every summer. Guests were welcomed at Ljósafoss Station and Krafla Station and a guide was made available at the Kárahnjúkar Dam. The energy exhibition at the Ljósafoss Station is open all year, where visitors can learn about electricity in an entertaining and educational way.
The number of visitors to Landsvirkjun's visitor centres has increased significantly between years, or by 39 per cent. Over 40,000 thousand people visited Landsvirkjun's visitor centres as well as the dam at Hálslón. More than twenty thousand people made their way to Krafla and over nineteen thousand people visited the Ljósafoss Visitor Centre. Nearly nine hundred and fifty people enjoyed a guided tour of Kárahnjúkar.
More than half of the respondents who took part in the survey conducted by the University of Iceland stated that they were interested in visiting a visitor centre in a geothermal or hydropower station. There are therefore clear opportunities within the industry to build on energy-efficient tourism.
Landsvirkjun provides important information on the Company's website in both Icelandic and English. In 2017, approx. 97,000 visited the Company website. Facebook followers increased by 14% - to a total of 4,280. Landsvirkjun shared 70 entries on Facebook and received 4000 "likes". The Company is also on Twitter and Instagram.
Landsvirkjun has in recent years published both annual and environmental reports but these reports have only been published digitally since 2014. The goal is to increase public access to the annual accounts of the Company and to promote effective disclosure on its activities. In 2017, nearly 3000 readers viewed the Annual Report and page views were over 15,500.
The Annual Report is available to all interested parties, who can also acquaint themselves with the Company at Landsvirkjun.is or on our Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram.