Cleantech Market Intelligence
Great Britain Plan Scuppers Iceland Interconnect
Iceland’s abundant geothermal and hydro resources make it an energy powerhouse. For example, energy-hungry greenhouses can be powered by geothermal energy, producing tomatoes, bananas, and other fruits in a cold climate. It’s been proposed that Iceland could build out more generating capacity and lay a submarine high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission line to export clean, low-cost energy to power-hungry cities in Great Britain.
According to Askja Energy, Hörður Arnarson, the CEO of Landsvirkjun (the power company that operates 13 hydropower stations and two geothermal stations across Iceland) said recently that a submarine interconnector to Europe represents “one of the biggest business opportunities Iceland has faced.” However, Great Britain might take a pass on the opportunity to tap Iceland’s abundant resources.
How About a Datacenter?
On July 12, the U.K. Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) published a memorandum that lays out requirements for the geographical location of generating units that can participate in Britain’s Capacity Market. “It is currently intended to restrict the Capacity Market to units located in Great Britain,” the memo said, “but this is subject to further consideration.”
Evidently the DECC wishes to build out Britain’s own infrastructure of smart grids and renewable generation first. The DECC recently announced plans to roll-out smart meters in 30 million homes. And according to the U.K. government’s Round 3 of offshore wind license announcements, the country aims to have 18 GWs of offshore wind by 2020.
At minimum, this will delay any plans for Iceland to build new generating units and an HVDC interconnector. In the meantime, perhaps Iceland will build more power-hungry datacenters that run efficiently on arctic cooling and cheap, clean energy.