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08 Mar 2011: Iceland Considers Giant Cable
to Sell Geothermal Power to Europe

Iceland’s largest energy company is considering construction of the world’s longest underwater electric cable so the nation can sell its vast geothermal and volcanic energy to the European market. By the end of the year, state-owned energy company, Landsvirkjun, will complete a study of building a sub-sea cable that could deliver as much as five terawatt-hours (5 billion kilowatt-hours) annually to Europe, enough electricity to power 1.25 million homes. Based on current energy prices, that would generate 250 to 320 million euros ($350 to $448 million) each year. It would also help Europe achieve its target of meeting 20 percent of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2020. The cable would be as long as 1,180 miles (1,900 kilometers), depending on its destination; officials are considering linking the cable to Britain, Norway, Holland, and Germany. “The idea is to meet demand during peak hours in Europe, as well as some base load,” said Ragna Sara Jonsdottir, a company spokeswoman. Landsvirkjun produces about 75 percent of Iceland’s electricity by tapping into the nation’s huge stores of geothermal power.

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