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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