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Iceland generates 99% of its electricity from renewable energy resources and Landsvirkjun generates two thirds of this electricity.

We operate 14 hydropower stations, two geothermal power stations and two wind turbines in five areas of operation, all over Iceland. We believe in an integrated approach where prudence, reliability and the harmony of operations with the environment and society are fundamental to our operations.

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Hydropower: 13.205.5 GWh

Landsvirkjun operates fourteen hydropower stations all over Iceland, divided into four areas of operation. Landsvirkjun was established in 1965 and one of its first projects was to harness the Þjórsá River by Búrfell. The Búrfell Hydropower Station had an initial capacity of 210 MW but the station was upgraded in 1996, boosting its installed capacity to 280 MW. Preparation measures for the expansion of Búrfell (by 100 MW) are underway. An additional turbine will be installed in a separate powerhouse and operations are scheduled to begin by the middle of 2018.

Further information on energy generation in an isolated system can be accessed in the chapter “Water Year”

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Landsvirkjun generated 13.589 GWh of electrical energy for the Landsnet transmission grid in 2015, an increase of 7.1% when compared with figures for 2014.

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Geothermal energy: 497.2 GWh

The total energy generation of Landsvirkjun’s geothermal power stations was 497 GWh in 2015. Landsvirkjun operates two geothermal power stations at Krafla and Bjarnarflag.

We are committed to utilising geothermal energy in a sustainable and responsible manner. An integral part of this approach is ensuring that a balance is maintained between the utilisation and the natural renewal of the geothermal reservoir. Separated hot water not utilised for electricity production is injected back down into the geothermal reservoir. Since 2012, re-injection levels have been increased gradually, from 80kg/s up to 125 kg/s. Only 13 kg/s are not re-injected into the system but all separated water will be re-injected into the geothermal reservoir at Krafla.

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Wind power: 6.7 GWh

Landsvirkjun operates two wind turbines for research purposes in an area called Hafið just to the north of the Búrfell Hydropower Station. Each turbine has an installed capacity of 0.9 MW. Operations have been successful this year with few interruptions.

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The three main pillars of environmentally friendly energy

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Operation of power stations

The operations of Landsvirkjun's power stations were successful throughout the year. There were 106 unforeseen interruptions at Landsvirkjun’s power stations during 2015, compared with 87 in 2014. Landsvirkjun's goal is to ensure that generating units in the power stations are available 99% of the year, not accounting for routine maintenance periods. The goal was achieved this year as units were available 99.9% of the time whereas they were available 99.7% of the time in 2014.

The monitoring, maintenance and operation of power stations was routinely carried out throughout the year. Landsvirkjun operates in accordance with an integrated, certified Quality Management and Environmental Safety Management System, based on ISO 9001, ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001 and the Internal Electrical Safety Operation System (RÖSK), which fulfils the criteria set out by the Iceland Construction Authority on electrical safety issues. Landsvirkjun has been certified as a producer of green electricity by the German company TÜV SÜD who specialise in the certification of green electricity. In addition, the Company’s IT Division’s safety management system is certified in accordance with ISO 27001.

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Investments in operating power stations

There were 87 refurbishment projects in Landsvirkjun’s power stations in 2015. Rock material was reinforced under the spillway chute at the Kárahnjúkar Hydropower Station during the summer months. The project was successful despite difficult working conditions. A new turbine wheel (for turbine 4) at the Búrfell Hydropower Station was received in the latter part of the year. Preparation measures continued this year for the renewal of one of the turbines at the Laxá Hydropower Station as well as improvements to the intake structures.

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Rock reinforcement under the spillway chute by Hálslón

Erosion protection measures were carried out on the canyon wall under the lower end of the spillway chute in Hálslón. The project was completed over a six week period, from the beginning of June until mid- July. Part of the project period included work executed in 24 hour shifts. A crane was erected on the upper platform of the spillway and the work area was accessed from above. Part of the rock wall was reinforced using rock bolts, steel netting and shotcrete.

These necessary erosion protection and reinforcement measures to the canyon wall were identified at the beginning of the Kárahnjúkar project. The heterogeneous nature of the rock matter under the spillway results in varied erosion- resistance and erosion levels have therefore been monitored since the structure was taken into use to assess any danger of rock collapse threatening the spillway. The results showed that the rock wall was diminishing and that this trend would continue if no action was taken. Action was therefore taken immediately to protect the spillway chute.

The project was highly specialised and the Swiss company Gasser, who specialise in rock fall protection and rock reinforcement, were asked to take on the project. Local contractors were used in other parts of the project. 

The spillover is part of the dam structure at the Hálslón Reservoir and is used to channel water from the reservoir when it fills up. The spillway chute runs from the spillover and to the canyon edge of the Hafrahvammagljúfur Canyon below the dam. The Hverfandi Waterfall which tumbles 90- 100 metres into the Hafrahvammagljúfur Canyon, is formed during spillover periods. The waterfall is powerful and can produce more water than the Dettifoss Waterfall.

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Natural disaster response plan

Iceland’s electricity network is a crucial part of the country’s infrastructure. Response plans to any type of disaster must therefore be well defined. The objective is to ensure the secure operation of the electricity network which acts as the foundation for the working community and national economy.

Landsvirkjun’s emergency management team (NLV) took part in an exercise held on the 12 th of November, 2015. The exercise was an independent continuation of Exercise 1311 which was held in 2013 and focused on the response plan for the volcanic eruption in Vatnajökull which caused a large-scale flood in the Þjórsá River area and led to structural damage and reductions to the electricity supply to energy intensive industry and the public. The employees in the Þjórsá area took part in a specialised response plan for flooding.

The exercise was part of a large-scale emergency exercise (Exercise 1511), which was organised by Landsnet. NSR (the emergency response plan for the power system cooperation in Iceland) and other parties took part in the exercise. Those Landsvirkjun representatives who took part included the CEO and Deputy CEO, Landsvirkjun’s lawyers, the Director of Corporate Communications, employees in the Þjórsá and Fljótsdalur area, employees in the Marketing and Business Development Division and others.

Landsvirkjun’s response plans (to minimise the effect of natural disasters) includes seismic activity, ash fall and floods of various sizes. Response plans were updated as a result of the activity at Holuhraun and Bárðarbunga and preparation measures were undertaken for possible scenarios which could be realised as a result of the activity. A decision was made to improve flood protection at Hágöngur in order to prevent a dam break in a large-scale flood. The volcanic eruption at Holuhraun formally came to an end on the 28 th of February, but there are indications that similar eruptions could be expected in the near future.

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The purpose of flood protection is to minimise the potential damage to dams in large-scale floods and to reduce the consequences of a dam break.