One of the Hardest Water Years


Landsvirkjun’s reservoir levels are severely low and even lower than predicted in January. As always, everything will be done to ensure secure delivery of wholesale electricity. It is now clear that reduced electricity delivery will last throughout April, given the current situation, but Landsvirkjun has requested to repurchase electricity from large users and activated such provisions, where warranted in power agreements.

The current water year is one of the hardest in Landsvirkjun’s history. The drought last summer and autumn meant that the lake Þórisvatn did not fill up, but the lake is the most important reservoir at the Company’s largest operational area. Despite the many depressions that hit Iceland in February, the temperature was low, bringing snow but no rain, with no winter thaw in the highlands. Surely, the snow will end up in the reservoirs, but that does not help the current situation. The water level at the lake Þórisvatn decreases by one metre per week, which means that considerable thaw is needed in April, at the latest, or the reservoir will be depleted. Inflow in the river Tungnaá is now lower than in 2014, the last time electricity delivery had to be reduced.

Bad weather and increased load

A storm in February also made its mark on Landsvirkjun’s operations, resulting in reduced delivery between regions of the country, caused by disturbances in the main transmission system Byggðalína. Furthermore, a temporary cut-off in electricity generation occurred at the power stations Vatnsfell, Sultartangi and Búrfell, caused by bad weather at the end of February. Bear in mind that in addition to the difficulties a hard water year causes, Landsvirkjun’s wholesale electricity delivery was increased by 15% compared to last year, which indicates less supply from other electricity generators in this market. In addition, other electricity generators have experienced frequent technical failures, which means increased load on the system. Thus, the load on the electricity system has increased while the water resources have never been lower, with winter storms encumbering the situation. However, under these difficult circumstances, Landsnet, the Icelandic Transmission System Operator (TSO), has done an excellent job in transmitting electricity between regions in the country.

As earlier reported, Landsvirkjun had reduced electricity delivery to fish meal factories, large users, and district-heating plants, in accordance with agreements. The reduced delivery amounts to 3% of the Company’s annual electricity generation. Furthermore, Landsvirkjun has taken various measures in preparation of the deteriorating outlook, e.g., requested to repurchase electricity from all large users and activated such clauses in agreements, where warranted.

“Landsvirkjun will treat its customers with fairness, now as always before. The situation is difficult, and we do realise that reduced electricity delivery and repurchases hit our customers hard. All limitations on electricity delivery, which we have had to enforce, are in accordance with agreements. We certainly hope that a mild spring will help us out of this difficult situation,” says Hörður Arnarson, Landsvirkjun’s CEO.

Landsvirkjun’s reservoirs levels in real-time can be monitored at: