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Electricity generation capacity is around 4300 MW for high-temperature fields in Iceland

4.1.2010

The National Energy Authority (NEA) has estimated the capacity of high-temperature fields for electricity generation. According to the recent evaluation by NEA, there is a high probability that 4300 MW of electricity can be generated for a period of 50 years in known high-temperature fields in Iceland. This corresponds to approximately 35 TWh per year. For comparison, the 4 TWh of electricity were generated at geothermal plants in 2008.

The National Energy Authority (NEA) has estimated the capacity of high-temperature fields for electricity generation. According to the recent evaluation by NEA, there is a high probability that 4300 MW of electricity can be generated for a period of 50 years in known high-temperature fields in Iceland. This corresponds to approximately 35 TWh per year. For comparison, the 4 TWh of electricity were generated at geothermal plants in 2008.

Additionally, the NEA has evaluated the minimum and maximum electricity generation capactity for individual fields. It is likely that some fields can generate more power and other less than is found in the estimate. As a consequence, the sum is considered to be close the total capacity for all the high-temperature fields.

The estimate for the size of high-temperature fields is based on extensive resistivity measurements and observations of surface features. The size is bounded by the outline of the high-resistivity core at 800 m where the temperature can probably reach over 230 °C at any given time. The estimated generation capacity is based on the projection of the areal generation capacity using a volume estimation from a selection of four high-temperature fields onto all of the fields.

The estimate made with the reservations that it is impossible to make an accurate estimate of the generation capacity of geothermal fields prior to their development and that all of the high-temperature fields are a part of the estimate, including fields that will probably never be developed due to environmental protection.

The estimate is published in a report (in Icelandic) by Jonas Ketilsson of NEA, and Hedinn Bjornsson, Saeunn Halldorsdottir and Gudni Axelsson of Iceland GeoSurvey.