ARKANSAS, Nov 25 (Future Headlines)- Iceland’s Ministry of Environment, Energy, and Climate has taken a significant step towards advancing geothermal exploration by confirming the proposals of the Energy Fund’s board for the allocation of subsidies. A total of eight projects, spanning various regions and applications, have been selected for funding, representing a substantial investment of ISK 447 million (approximately USD 3.25 million). These initiatives aim to propel Iceland’s transition towards greater reliance on geothermal energy for domestic heating, marking a pivotal moment in the country’s efforts to harness its abundant renewable resources.

HEF veitur ehf – Búlandsnes, Djupivogur (ISK 134,840,000): This project, led by HEF veitur ehf, focuses on geothermal exploration in Búlandsnes, Djupivogur, with a substantial subsidy of ISK 134,840,000. The investment underscores the commitment to unlocking the geothermal potential of this specific region.

Orkubú Vestfjarda – Ísafjördur og Patreksfjördur (Phase 1) (ISK 91,333,000): The initiative by Orkubú Vestfjarda in Ísafjördur and Patreksfjördur, Phase 1, secures funding of ISK 91,333,000. This project aligns with the broader strategy of diversifying energy sources and expanding geothermal capabilities.

Orkubú Vestfjarda – Geirseyri (Patreksfjördur Phase 2) (ISK 51,333,000): Building on the first phase, the Geirseyri project in Patreksfjördur Phase 2 receives a substantial subsidy of ISK 51,333,000, highlighting the strategic importance of this geothermal exploration endeavor.

Orkubú Vestfjarda – Ísafjördur (Phase 2) (ISK 45,333,000): In the second phase of the Ísafjördur project by Orkubú Vestfjarda, a significant subsidy of ISK 45,333,000 demonstrates the commitment to advancing geothermal capabilities in this region.

Vopnafjarðarhreppur – Selárlaug (ISK 40,000,000): The project in Selárlaug, led by Vopnafjarðarhreppur, secures funding of ISK 40,000,000. This investment contributes to the broader goal of expanding geothermal applications beyond traditional heating.

Grundarfjarðarbær – Energy replacement of swimming pool, primary school, and gymnasium at Grundarfjörður (ISK 34,000,000): Grundarfjarðarbær’s project focusing on energy replacement in critical public facilities secures a subsidy of ISK 34,000,000, emphasizing the importance of geothermal energy in community infrastructure.

Kaldrananeshreppur – Heating system of Baejartorforun (ISK 25,289,000): The Kaldrananeshreppur project, addressing the heating system of Baejartorforun, receives funding of ISK 25,289,000, contributing to the overall geothermal exploration efforts.

Skaftárhreppur – Geothermal research in Skaftárhreppi: The project in Skaftárhreppur focuses on geothermal research, reflecting a commitment to advancing scientific understanding and technological innovation in the geothermal sector.

In May of this year, the Minister of the Environment, Energy and Climate, Gudlaugur Thór Thórdarson, mandated the Energy Fund to lead efforts in geothermal exploration for the years 2023-2025. The primary focus was to support projects aiming to replace electricity and/or oil with geothermal heat for general domestic heating, addressing the challenges faced by the heating utilities in the country.

Minister Gudlaugur Thór Thórdarson emphasized Iceland’s substantial success in using geothermal energy for domestic heating, with over 90% of the population having access to geothermal heating systems. However, acknowledging a lapse in efforts over the past two decades, the minister highlighted the critical need to revitalize geothermal exploration. This marks the first significant initiative in geothermal exploration in the last 15 years, addressing the impending challenges faced by the majority of the country’s heating utilities in the coming seasons. Over the past decade, heating costs amounting to about ISK 2.5 billion per year have been subsidized, reinforcing the urgency and importance of refocusing on geothermal solutions. The government’s commitment to pushing forward in geothermal issues aligns with broader sustainability goals and efforts to reduce reliance on conventional heating sources, fostering a more resilient and renewable energy landscape.

Reporting by Kevin Wood; Editing by Sarah White