The Þeistareykir area has great geothermal energy generation potential with an estimated capacity of approx. 200 MW.
The construction of the Þeistareykir Geothermal Power Station has been ongoing for three years and will be developed in two 45 MW phases. The first phase began operations in the fourth quarter of 2017 and the second phase is expected to begin operations in the spring of 2018. The design and plans for the power station are focused on creating an efficient, reliable power station, in harmony with the environment.
Construction on-site continued throughout 2017. The most extensive projects included the installation of electrical and mechanical equipment, the completion of the powerhouse and installation of the steam supply system, as well as drilling work for the second phase. There were 200 employees working on-site at the peak of construction.
Þeistareykir – construction in 2017
Video is only available in Icelandic
Installation of electrical and mechanical equipment the largest project this year
The first turbine unit was delivered at the end of 2016 and installation began in 2017. Work continued on the installation of mechanical, electrical and control equipment until the autumn, when the turbine was tested. Testing was successful and the first turbine officially came online on the 19th of November.
Turbine two arrived in Iceland in the spring of 2017 and installation was carried out alongside the installation of turbine one. Installation work and the connection of the turbine had almost been completed by the end of 2017.
Construction work will be completed in 2018
The main projects for 2018 include testing turbine two which should begin operations in the spring.
Finishing work will reach completion in 2018 and has been continuously carried out alongside construction work as the Company places an emphasis on the rapid restoration of disturbed areas.
A long period of well executed preparation work
Preparation for the Þeistareykir Geothermal Power Station began decades ago when local residents took the initiative to utilise the area. However, the history of the Þeistareykir project itself dates back to 1999, when Þeistareykir ehf was established.
The accompanying video shows the timeline of the Þeistareykir project from the initial idea and right through to its realisation.
Designers and contractors
The partnership between Mannvit and Verkís is responsible for design and consultation work on the Þeistareykir project and they are assisted by Tark Architects, Landslag and Johann Indriðason Engineers. Various contractors were involved in the project: LNS Saga and LNS A/S (now Munck Íslandi) – Construction of the powerhouse and steam supply, IDC – Well drilling, Fuji Electric/Balcke-Dürr – Manufacture and installation of mechanical and cold end equipment, ABB – Manufacture and installation of control system, Tamini– Manufacture of transformers, Rafeyri – Electrical equipment, Vélsmiðjan Héðinn – Manufacture of separators. The road contractors Nesey, Höfðavélar, Ístrukkur, Jón Ingi and Árni Helgason were responsible for construction. G. Hjálmarsson was responsible for ground preparation work and Þ.S. contractors constructed the water supply system for the power station.
An emphasis on safety
Safety is a priority at Landsvirkjun, both in the operation of its facilities and in the construction of new power stations. Landsvirkjun's policy is to achieve an accident-free workplace and positive work environment. Landsvirkjun works according to a so-called zero-accident policy, the basis of which is to develop a safety culture amongst employees and therefore actively prevent accidents. An effective zero-accident policy is achieved by employee involvement in the workplace, adherence to the policy and putting individual safety and the safety of others first.
All new employees attended the HSE induction course this year. The course has been attended by a total of 1,052 employees over the years and 235 individuals attended in 2017. A total of 463 thousand work hours have been completed on the Þeistareykir project this year and a total of 1,045,000 work hours have been completed by contractors since construction began on the powerhouse.
Landsvirkjun takes all accidents, near accidents and incidents that occur in the workplace, very seriously. We are committed to managing and responding to suggestions and comments relating to safety and environmental issues. The objective is to improve work procedures, creating a safer environment for our employees and to respect the environment.
Monitoring and mitigation measures
The unique nature of the Þeistareykir area was a main consideration during the execution of all preparation and construction work and an emphasis was placed on environmental matters. Regular monitoring has been conducted on environmental aspects since 2012. The objective of regular monitoring is to recognise the baseline for environmental aspects before operations begin and to subsequently monitor these aspects during the operational period. The results can be accessed on the project website as well as a number of presentation videos for environmental monitoring in Landsvirkjun’s geothermal areas. The results can also be accessed in the Company’s Green Accounts.
Numerous projects relating to the environment were carried out this year, including land reclamation which has been underway since 2013. A total of approx. 160 hectares of land was re-vegetated to replace land submerged by the first phase of construction. Sowing projects were completed this year with the exception of re-fertilisation measures.
Approximately 187.7 tonnes of fertiliser and approx. 10 tonnes of seed have been distributed so far and approx. 136 thousand plants have been planted. Landsvirkjun places an emphasis on executing projects responsibly and with respect for the environment. This includes the closure of material extraction mines as the project progresses. Only active material extraction sites remain open.
Landsvirkjun ensures that all project contractors comply with the Company's environmental policy and operate in accordance with the relevant licenses and project requirements. Landsvirkjun’s Environmental Policy offers a framework of the Company’s internal and external requirements. This information is provided during the tendering process and is part of any contract reached between Landsvirkjun and hired contractors.
Landsvirkjun has a valid agreement with the Environmental Agency on environmental monitoring. They regularly visit the area and monitor the progress of work and finishing work after the completion of construction.
Dialogue with society
Various measures were implemented in 2017 to inform the public about the project’s progress. A newsletter was released in March and open meetings were held by the Company. An open house was held in early July and turbine one officially came online in November. The progress of the project was updated on the project website and numerous interested parties visited us on-site. Numerous smaller meetings were held with various stakeholders in the area. The emphasis on dialogue and consultation will continue.
An open house was held at Þeistareykir on the 2nd of July. Visitors were invited to view the station and site and a brief presentation was given on the status of the project as well as a tour of the area. Guests were offered refreshments and an opportunity to chat with staff. A total of 300 guests visited the site and we would like to take the opportunity to thank all those who attended and welcome them to visit us next summer.
Official start-up ceremony
Landsvirkjun’s 17th power station came online at an official start-up ceremony on the 17th of December. The station was started-up by Mr Benedikt Jóhannesson, Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs and Ms Þórdís Kolbrún R. Gylfadóttir, Minister of Industry and Commerce.
First station to be assessed according to the Geothermal Sustainability Assessment Protocol (GSAP)
The Þeistareykir Geothermal Power Station is the first station to be assessed according to the Geothermal Sustainability Assessment Protocol (GSAP) which is being developed in cooperation with the National Energy Authority, Landsvirkjun, OR, HS Orka and the Environment Agency of Iceland.
The preparation stage for the Þeistareykir Geothermal Power Station has mostly been successful and in accordance with the principles of sustainable development. Of the 17 indicators evaluated, 11 received the highest achievable score or "proven best practice". The project is therefore considered exemplary in areas such as communication and consultation with stakeholders and the utilisation of the geothermal resource.
Sustainability Initiative in Northeast Iceland
A so-called sustainability project was launched alongside the development of the Þeistareykir Geothermal Power Station which aims to monitor the impact of construction and the operation of the power station on the development of social and economic factors in the local community. This is a joint venture between Landsvirkjun and Landsnet as well as various companies, municipalities and other stakeholders, whose main objective is to scientifically assess these impacts and to use the information as a basis for the preparation and decision making process for comparable projects. The project is run by the Húsavík Academic Center (HAC) and the first results will be available in the first half of 2018. See the project's website for more information.