Landsvirkjun has made the decision to expand the Búrfell Hydropower Station by 100 MW and construction is expected to begin this coming spring. The expansion will generate power for only part of the year as it will utilise water that mostly bypasses the station during the summer months. However, the installed capacity of the expansion will be utilised year- round to increase operational security and the flexibility of the electricity system.
Landsvirkjun has identified those contractors who fulfil the necessary qualification requirements and only these contractors will be given the opportunity to take part in the tender process. The new tenders are expected to be opened in the beginning of next December and contracts will be completed by the beginning of 2016. Construction work for the expansion project will be tendered out next November. The tenders for mechanical and electrical equipment will be released in the next few days.
It is estimated that approx. 14% of the water flow (approx. 410 GWh/Yr) runs past the Búrfell Hydropower Station on an annual basis. Landsvirkjun’s role is to maximise the potential yield and value of the natural resources it has been entrusted with, in a sustainable, responsible and efficient manner and the expansion of the Station will result in the more efficient use of this water resource.
Landsvirkjun announced its decision to expand the Búrfell Hydropower Station to the Icelandic National Planning Agency on the 3rd of May, 2013. The Agency published its findings on the 12th of July, 2013 where it stated that anything up to a 140 MW station would not be likely to have a significant environmental impact and would not require an environmental impact assessment (EIA). The Project does not require an EIA as it is an expansion of the current Búrfell Station and does not fall under the requirements set out by the Master Plan for Hydro and Geothermal Energy Resources, in accordance with article 3 of Act no. 48/2011.
The design of the station places an emphasis on environmental harmony where structures are not a prominent feature. The most prominent features will be the headrace canal, tailrace canal and the intake structure for the power station. The powerhouse will be located underground at Sámsstaðaklif.
Landsvirkjun will ensure access to recreational areas in the vicinity of the Búrfell Hydropower Station. There are also plans to connect these areas with information services in Þjórsárdalur.
The installed capacity of the new power station is expected to be 100 MW (one turbine) but there are plans to expand the station by a further 40 MW. The expansion could increase the generation capacity of the electricity system by anything up to 300 GWh/Yr.
Electricity demands are expected to increase between 2016 and 2020. This predicted increase includes the demands of new customers as well as increased demand from current customers. The expansion offers increased flexibility in operations and the option of carrying out maintenance work at the current station without significant reductions to the energy supply.
The construction work on the proposed project is expected to begin in the spring of 2016 and will continue until the middle of 2018.
As many as 100 employees will be involved in work carried out on-site during the second half of 2016 and 150 employees are expected to be on-site throughout 2017 and during the first half of 2018.
The total number of working hours is expected to reach 4000 or 2000 man-months. The estimated total cost of the Project is 13-15 billion ISK. The expansion is scheduled to begin operations in April, 2018.
The design consultancy tender was advertised on the 14th of March and Landsvirkjun received four bids. A contract was subsequently signed with Verkís Consulting Engineers on the 13th of July, 2015 and work on the project has begun.