Landsvirkjun was founded on the 1st of July, 1965 in an effort by the Icelandic government to optimize the country's natural energy resources and to encourage foreign investors within the power intensive industries to invest in Iceland. In the early seventies the Swiss industrial group Alusuisse showed an interest in building an aluminium plant in Iceland.
Landsvirkjun was established in order to construct and operate hydroelectric power plants which could provide reasonably priced electricity to the domestic market as well as the power intensive industries.
Fjalla-Eyvindur (an Icelandic outlaw) utilised geothermal water.
For centuries Icelanders used fire, horses, muscle power, geothermal power (in small amounts) and wind power to lighten the load at work and at home.
The first hydropower plant in Iceland was constructed in 1904. It was situated by the creek/brook in Hafnarfjördur and so they became the first town in Iceland to enjoy electricity (0.009 MW).
The first hot water pipe was supplied to a private dwelling in Iceland.
The combined output of the many smaller power stations in Iceland was 370 kW. Many of these were homemade.
Geothermal heat was utilised to wash and bathe in Iceland. Sulphur was also produced in many of the geothermal areas.
Drilling for hot water began in the Laugardalur valley at the ”The washing springs” in Reykjavík. These boreholes were the first to provide hot water to local schools, hospitals, swimming pools and 60 houses in the East end of Reykjavík. Many towns followed suit and today over 90% of buildings are heated using geothermal energy.
The Ellidaár power station in Reykjavík (1 MW) was opened and was expanded later on.
Electric lights, both inside and outside were considered a breakthrough at the time, replacing candles, oil lamps and gas lighting. The introduction of electricity proved revolutionary to the industry in general.
Electric stoves, refrigerators and other longed for electric items made their first appearance in households at the beginning of the 1930’s.
Electrification became a reality for households and businesses alike.
Over 530 small power plants had been built nationwide.
Írafoss station in the River Sog was the first power station to reach 10 MW. Two more stations were built in the River Sog and two in the River Laxá, in the Thingeyjar county.
The establishment of Landsvirkjun created opportunities to produce and supply energy to heavy industry, in particular the aluminium sector. The first substantial hydro power station was built at Búrfell and produced 210 MW.
The beginning of the 1970’s saw the introduction of steam generated energy, using steam turbines. The first power stations of this kind were opened in Bjarnarflag, in the lake Mývatn area and by Krafla. These were closely followed by Svartsengi.
Five hydro power plants and reservoirs were built in the central and south highlands.
Structural plans are completed to connect all the power systems scattered around the country. The purpose of this, amongst other things is to increase the safety of delivery.
Work commenced on the sinking of production wells and the construction of the Krafla power station in the summer of 1975. The powerhouse and other buildings were designed to match the two 30 MW turbine units purchased for the station.
Earthquakes and eruptions caused by the volcano Krafla reduced the steam generation at the Krafla power station. The station escaped damage.
Svartsengi power station begins energy production with steam generation. When excess water was pumped into Illahraun lava, the Blue Lagoon bathing pool was created.
Hrauneyjafoss hydropower station was the third largest power station in Iceland, 210 MW. It is one of five power stations lining the Thjórsá and Tungnaá rivers.
Nesjavellir was the second geothermal power plant to produce hot water for public consumption, by using the geothermal heat to heat up cold water from Thingvallavatn Lake.
Construction of the Blanda power station finally came to a close in 1992. This was the first power project entirely designed and constructed by Icelanders.
The building of Kárahnjúkar power project begins. The project had been heavily debated and criticised for its negative environmental impacts and differing opinions on the government’s industrial policy. Many demonstrations were held.
The European union called for the separation of energy production and energy transmission. Landsvirkjun generates energy and Landsnet owns and operates all major electricity transmission lines in Iceland.
The Fljótsdalur Hydropower Station (690 MW) (Kárahnjúkar) was opened in 2007 and is the largest power station in Iceland. The concrete-face, rock-filled main dam is the highest of its kind in Europe (198 m).
For many years Landsvirkjun was owned by the state, the city of Reykjavík and the town of Akureyri but became owned entirely by the state in 2007.
The first wind turbine erected.
The Búðarháls Hydropower Station (95 MW) was brought online. The station is located within the Þjórsá- and Tungnaá River water catchment area.
Landsvirkjun’s Annual and Environmental Reports go digital. They are the most comprehensive reports yet published by the company as the digital option offers extensive opportunities in the presentation of information.