Landsvirkjun's environmental report for 2010, which is an integral part of the company's environmental policy, has now been published. The 2010 report is the fifth consecutive report and contains statistical information on environmental matters within the company for that year, as well as on developments since 2008.
Landsvirkjun has a certified environmental management system in accordance with the international environmental standard ISO 14001. This standard has been in place since 2006 for the company's energy production, and since 2009 for the whole operation of Landsvirkjun. To comply with the standard, the company has gone through a process of establishing an environmental policy and has performed a detailed evaluation of the environmental effects of the company's operations. Landsvirkjun has established goals to reduce the impact of significant environmental effects of the operation, but the ISO 14001 standard requires that the objectives are met and that improvements are on-going.
The 2010 environmental report is published somewhat later than usual, which is explained by the fact that during this year improvements have been made to work procedures for the collection of data and on methods used to process the data, and in addition to this the scope of the report has been broadened considerably. Landsvirkjun is focused on being an open and transparent company where the dissemination of information on company policy and performance is important. In this way Landsvirkjun strives for an open and objective discussion on what has been well done and where there is room for improvement in the company's operations.
The report is published in a limited number of copies and will mainly be distributed electronically. The report can be accessed here: Landsvirkjun's Environmental Report 2010
Electricity production increases
Landsvirkjun electricity production accounts for about 75% of total electricity production in Iceland annually, and was 12,625 GWh in the year 2010 which is a 3% increase on the previous year. There was an increase in both hydropower and geothermal power where the proportional division is 96% hydropower and 4% geothermal power, which is similar to the previous year
Increased deep disposal
In order to limit the environmental impact from production of electricity with geothermal heat at the Krafla Power Station, separation water has been disposed of by reinjection into the geothermal reservoir. The proportion of deep disposal increased by a little under 9% from 2009 and 57% from 2008.
Reduction in the use of diesel oil between years
At Landsvirkjun, fossil fuels are used to power vehicles and various machines. In addition, oil is used to operate a number of diesel generators. The use of diesel oil has been reduced by about 34% compared to 2009 and by about 12% compared to 2008.
Land reclamation and carbon binding
Landsvirkjun has taken part in extensive land reclamation projects since 1968.The area of land that has been re-vegetated with Landsvirkjun's support during the period 1968 to 2010 is about 140 km². Carbon binding in the Landsvirkjun land revegetation and forestry areas is roughly estimated at about 22,000t per annum. As the carbon binding is estimated, not directly measured, this figure is an indicator on the extent of the potential for carbon binding. Currently, work is being carried out to measure the actual carbon binding in Landsvirkjun‘s land reclamation areas. Completion of this work is estimated to take place in 2012, at which time an accurate estimate of the amount of carbon binding can be presented.
Emphasis on recycling and reuse
It is Landsvirkjun's objective to increase the amount of recycling and thus reduce the amount of general unsorted waste that is sent to landfills or for incineration. The amount of general unsorted waste has been reduced compared with the previous year at all of Landsvirkjun's operational areas, with the exception of the Fljótsdalur Power Station which can be attributed to a special cleaning up project in the former construction area of Kárahnjúkar Hydroelectric Project that was started in 2010. The proportional division of waste in Landsvirkjun operations for 2010 by waste category can be seen in the illustration below. There one can see that 46% of waste is sent for recycling and reuse and 14% are hazardous material returned to approved waste facilities. About 17% of waste is classified as a general unsorted waste which is sent to landfills or for incineration and 23% of the total waste qualifies as inert waste and is landfilled in special inert waste landfills.
Slight reduction in greenhouse gas emissions
The largest source of greenhouse gases (GHGs) from Landsvirkjun's operations is related to geothermal energy production, around 73% of the total emissions. Emissions from hydropower reservoirs contribute approximately 25% of the total emissions. GHG emissions as a result of the burning of fossil fuels, flights and waste disposal contribute approximately 2% to the total GHG emissions.
Greenhouse gas emissions from Landsvirkjun operations in 2010 were a little under 61,300 tons of CO2 equivalent, which is a reduction of about 1% from 2009. Taking into account the carbon binding the Landsvirkjun carbon footprint for 2010 is about 39,300 tons CO2 equivalent. Greenhouse gas emissions from Landsvirkjun operations are about 1.2% of Iceland's total annual emissions, without taking into account carbon binding.
There is a considerable difference in emissions between the Landsvirkjun power sources, that is geothermal on the one hand and hydropower on the other. Greenhouse gas emissions for each GWh produced by geothermal power station is about 86 tons CO2 equivalent/GWh and about 1.4 tons CO2 equivalent/GWh for hydropower stations, without taking into account the company's carbon binding.