Iceland – Geothermal Giant (26.11.16)
Visitors to Iceland, at whatever time of year, soon delight in the island’s inexhaustible supply of clean, geothermal energy. While providing over 50% of the country’s primary energy, it also pumps out endless hot water, which weather-weary locals and travellers can enjoy as wholeheartedly as any seafaring Viking.
Easily accessible across vast areas of the island, this natural source of water is constant, piping hot and free. This means that once you have adjusted to the mild stench of eggs, you can factor in high morale, as well as a body beautiful, whatever outdoors or off-road itinerary you are on.
Whether visiting the capital Reykjavik en route to, or from, the land of Trump (who reportedly believes that climate Change is a hoax), or embarking on a round-the-island adventure, you can learn about and appreciate all that is geothermal Iceland. Whether exploring the Svartsengi powered Blue Lagoon spa (Bláa lónið), the Hellisheiði Geothermal Energy Exhibition Centre, the Thingvellir National Park (home of Iceland’s original 930 Parliament) or circumnavigating the huge northern volcanic terrains of Myvatnssveit, Namaskard and Myvatn, you are in for an education in natural energy as well as supremely surreal scenery.
Molten lava, spurting geysers, boiling mud pools, sulphur clouds, ashen volcanos and sky blue lagoons are the natural telltale signs that you are treading light foot above the rift between the mid-Atlantic continental plates. Iceland is known as the ‘fire and ice’ island, as water temperatures exit the earth at 300°C and the country’s six geothermal power plants harness and transport the water at 80°C far and wide. It heats 89% of houses, as well as many a local amenity, including most public swimming baths, and industrial and farming facilities.
As these photos show, the industry’s eco-friendly paw marks sit flush up against the dramatic local scenery as if out of a sci-fi movie. For example, I highly recommend a visit to the impressive central northern Dyngjufjöll mountains, with dramatic Askja caldera, in the same locality as the Hverfjall volcano and Bjarnarflag Power Station.
After all, as today’s traveller know – Iceland is hot at the moment.