About Orkustofnun

Is a government agency under the Ministry of Industries and Innovation. Its main responsibilities are to advise the Government of Iceland on energy issues and related topics, license and monitor the development and exploitation of energy and mineral resources, regulate the operation of the electrical transmission and distribution system and promote energy research. The Director General of Orkustofnun is Guðni A. Jóhannesson.

The research facilities and the multidisciplinary research environment of Orkustofnun have given the institution a status for over three decades as one of the leading geothermal energy research institutions in the world. Orkustofnun has been instrumental in the execution of government policy regarding exploration and development of geothermal resources, and in advising communities, companies, individuals and foreign governments about their utilisation of these resources.

Since 2003 steps have been taken to outsource exploration and monitoring services to ensure the financial independence and integrity of the Orkustofnun. In 2003, as a result of changes in Iceland's energy legislation, the Geoscience Division was separated from Orkustofnun and a new government-owned institute was established under the name Iceland GeoSurvey (Íslenskar Orkurannsóknir - ISOR). In 2008 it was decided to merge the activities of the Hydrological Service Division of Orkustofnun and the Iceland Meterological Service in a new institute, The Icelandic Meteorological Office, under the Ministry of Environment. Administration of funding of governmentally financed research, surveying and monitoring is however still the responsibility of Orkustofnun.

The changes described above made it possible in August 2008 to move the responsibility for administration of licenses for surveying and utilization of energy resources and some other geobased resources from the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism to Orkustofnun. Orkustofnun also has the responsibility for filing all research reports and data, to maintain databases with for these and to provide access to all open domain information. Orkustofnun also runs a library with a unique collection on literature and research reports on geosciences and related energy exploitation.

The UNU Geothermal Training Program (UNU-GTP) which is run as a separate result unit within Orkustofnun.