Landsvirkjun’s seventeenth power station came online at an official start- up ceremony on the 17th of December. Landsvirkjun already operates two geothermal stations at Krafla and Bjarnarflag but Þeistareykir is the first geothermal station to be entirely constructed by Landsvirkjun.
The Þeistareykir Geothermal Station will have a capacity of 90 MW and was constructed in two 45 MW phases. Turbine 1 was set in motion during the ceremony on Friday and subsequently connected to Landsnet’s transmission system. The station was started-up by Mr Benedikt Jóhannesson, Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs and Ms Þórdís Kolbrún R. Gylfadóttir, Minister of Industry and Commerce.
Mr Gunnar Guðni Tómasson, Executive Vice President of the Project Planning and Construction Division started the ceremony by going over the various safety precautions on-site. Mr Jónas Þór Guðmundsson, Chairman of the Board then gave the audience a short history of the project and went on to thank the various affiliates, contractors and employees involved.
Mr Hörður Arnarson, CEO of Landsvirkjun said in his speech that the project had been a success, where great emphasis had been placed on communication and consultation as well as environmental and safety issues. Mr Valur Knútsson, Senior Project Manager also discussed some of the project components.
Ms Þórdís Kolbrún R. Gylfadóttir addressed the audience and spoke of the economic viability of the power generation project at the national level. She also emphasised the fact that the project would be a welcome addition to Iceland’s renewable energy sources and would have a wide reaching impact. Mr Benedikt Jóhannesson, Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs noted that this was indeed a joyous occasion, particularly for someone in his position, who should indeed be delighted each time Landsvirkjun increased its value, by completing a new project.
Mr Arnór Benónýsson, Council Chairman of the Þingeyjarsveit Municipality also addressed the audience, stating that working with Landsvirkjun had been a positive experience and confirmed that respectful communication with the public and consideration for the environment had been important factors.
The station was then started-up by communicating with Landsnet and an on duty employee at Þeistareykir, via the TETRA system (see photograph). The ceremony was overseen by Ragna Árnadóttir, Deputy CEO of Landsvirkjun.
A high priority has been given to the careful development and utilisation of geothermal energy in the area and the Environmental Impact Assessment states that anything up to 200 MW could be utilised. The installation of turbine 2 is now in full swing and operations are expected to begin in April, 2018.
Local residents took the initiative to utilise the area, but the history of the Þeistareykir project dates back to 1999, when Þeistareykir ehf was established. The founders of the project were Orkuveita Húsavíkur and Norðurorka (energy companies) and the Aðaldallahreppur and Reykdælahreppur districts which are now part of the Þingeyjarsveit Municipality. Landsvirkjun acquired 32% of the company in the autumn of 2005, gradually increasing its holdings until it acquired the entire company in the spring of 2010.
Design work began on the project three years later in 2011 and extensive preparation measures were undertaken in 2014, with a view to beginning work at short notice.
A contract was signed for the purchase of a turbine unit and associated equipment in February, 2015. A decision was subsequently made to execute phase two of the project in August of that same year which included the purchase of a second 45 MW turbine unit. Construction work began in the spring of 2015 and reached its peak in 2016, when 240 employees were active on-site.
The President of Iceland, Mr. Gudni Th. Jóhannesson, laid the cornerstone of the powerhouse at an official ceremony in September, 2016. The construction of the powerhouse, steam supply system and the drilling of 8 additional production wells has been completed since then.
Landsvirkjun has decided to launch a contest for artwork in the vicinity of the Þeistareykir Geothermal Power Station, in collaboration with the Icelandic Design Center. The competition will be an open competition and will be advertised later.