Our goal is to utilise the natural resources we have been entrusted with in a sustainable manner, whilst maximising the utilisation of geothermal fluid, extracted from geothermal systems and supporting multi-purpose utilisation. We support research, development and effective procedures to increase expertise in the field of geoscience.
We continually assess the status of the resource with extensive monitoring. Our monitoring plan takes important environmental factors into account in each area and can vary between areas and/or the type of utilisation. The chemical composition of drinking water and geothermal fluid is closely monitored and a number of factors including temperature, pressure, and conductivity and ground water levels are continuously monitored. The quantity of extracted fluid is registered and monitoring results are used to assess any potential strain on the geothermal resource. Action is subsequently taken if needed
HS Orka owns and operates two geothermal power plants on the Reykjanes Peninsula; the Reykjanes and Svartsengi Power Plants. The conditions in the area are challenging due to high salinity levels, mineral deposits and corrosion. A mixture of solution-based thinking, research and development has ensured the successful utilisation of the resource throughout the last 40 years.
Geothermal utilisation began at Svartsengi in 1977 when domestic heating was connected to houses in the Grindavík area and electricity production began a year later when the first turbine (installed capacity: 1 MW) came online.
Energy generation in the Svartsengi area was developed in phases up until 2008. Geothermal fluid, at a temperature of 240°C, is used for utilisation and the capacity of the power plant is currently 75 MWe and 190 MWth.
Electricity generation began at Reykjanes in May, 2006 using two 50 MWe steam turbines. Geothermal fluid is utilised at temperatures between 270 and 300°C. Utilisation in the Reykjanes area has brought many challenges including temperature, high salinity levels and large quantities of dissolved minerals. Deposits in wells and pipelines and corrosion problems with equipment have required increased monitoring and maintenance. Extensive research has been conducted on the resource in the last few years to identify possible re-injection areas. Changes were subsequently made to production plans, based on the results of research and monitoring. Re-injection was re-located to an area further away from the production area and continuous monitoring began on temperature and pressure to monitor and ensure the balance between utilisation and re-injection. Production is now finally stable in the area after overcoming a number of challenges and crises over the years.
Fresh water is extracted from lava layers in Lágum in Svartsengi and is distributed in the Suðurnes area (both hot and cold water). Production went according to plan this year and the resource is well monitored as fresh water is our most precious resource.