Geothermal resources have been used in Iceland since the settlement of the Vikings around year 1,000. Space heating of modern houses with geothermal water started in Reykjavik, capital of Iceland, in 1930.
Today, 99% of houses in Iceland are heated with renewable energy.
All electrical energy in Iceland is produced by renewable energy resources, hydro (71%) and geothermal (29%). Krafla power station was a pioneer in the production of electricity by using geothermal energy resources when the first turbine started in 1977. This was a critical period as the Krafla volcano (Leirhnúkur) was active from 1975 to 1984. This makes the Krafla Magma Testbed even more interesting, with emphasis on the unique opportunity to build up facilities to study the behaviour of the magma.
Discovered serendipitously as part of a deep drilling project by Iceland’s energy company Landsvirkjun (LV), the magma chamber beneath the Krafla volcano provides scientists with the first-ever opportunity to study, in-situ and at depth, the source of volcanic eruptions and geothermal energy. Coupled with the fact that Krafla is among the most researched volcanoes on Earth, creating a magma testbed here is an unmissable opportunity.
As a leading light of geothermal energy, Iceland is a wonderful partner in this venture. In support of the ambition, the Icelandic Government has guaranteed their commitment to this work. The KMT will work collaboratively with all local stakeholders in the local area: enabling the local community and municipalities to use the site positively for eco-tourism and university-level natural hazards education.
Any drilling in the area has to take into consideration utilization plans agreed upon by local authorities, current power production, and a booming tourism industry in relation to the natural beauty of the Krafla area. In practice, this means that future drilling operations are simplest if carried out in areas of previous drilling within the present utilization zone. Control over what can and cannot be done resides with Landsvirkjun National Power Company, which operates the geothermal field and power plant, in consultation with local stakeholders.