Sustainable energy: inside Iceland’s geothermal power plant

In the first of a series, we visit the Hellisheiði plant, which provides 300MW of power – and Reykjavik’s hot water

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 Hellisheiði geothermal plant, Iceland. Photograph Pedro Alvarez for the Observer

Hellisheiði geothermal plant, Iceland. Photograph Pedro Alvarez for the Observer

Thanks to its position on a volatile section of the Mid-Atlantic ridge, Iceland is a world leader in the the use of geothermal energy, and of the six geothermal power plants in Iceland, Hellisheiði (pronounced “het-li-shay-thee”) is the newest and largest. Fully operational since 2010, it sits on the mossy slopes of the Hengill volcano in the south-west of the country; a green and placid-looking landscape that belies the turbulent geological activity rumbling beneath it.

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Building resiliency in the face of a rising sea: How coastal communities can learn from nature

biomimicry

By Jacques Chirazi

Climate change is one of the biggest challenges the world has ever faced. Flooding, storm surge, and sea level rise are serious threats to natural resources, infrastructure, and human communities in coastal areas. In effort to adapt to these changing conditions, planners and policymakers should consider nature’s strategies when developing coastal resiliency plans to protect communities from increasing coastal erosion and flooding due to rising sea levels.

The recent Paris agreement sets out a global action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to below 2°C. However, given the high concentration of carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere, the climate will continue to change (see Figure 1), impacting both human communities and the environment.

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