From the CEO

Bjarni Bjarnason

2017 was an interesting year for the activities of Reykjavik Energy on numerous of fronts. The operations of the Group performed well, and this was the first year after the recovery period of Reykjavik Energy was completed, a period which was known in the Group as the Plan period. There were no signs of a loosening grip on operating costs in the past year and we hope that the cultural change that has taken place will secure Reykjavik Energy sound management in the future.

Immediately at the beginning of the year the customers of Veitur Utilities benefited from a decrease in cold water and electricity tariffs. Electricity tariffs then dropped even further before the end of the year. The personnel of the companies inside the Reykjavik Energy Group can be proud of this result.

The struggle against global warming is the most important environmental issue of our times. Icelanders have to lend a hand in the battle against the challenges of climate change. Regardless of the fact that the energy we produce is green, everyone has to make their contribution. Reykjavik Energy has set itself the ambitious target of reducing carbon emissions by 60% by the year 2030. The results of the CarbFix development programme for the sequestration of carbon dioxide in bedrock give us every reason to be optimistic that the objective can be achieved. In 2017, a foreign company came to the Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plant with its equipment to extract carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere and then use the technology we developed to sequester it in the earth. Not surprisingly, this attracted a great deal of attention from the global media and a stream of reporters flocked to witness this innovation. The development project in the production of high-temperatures is by no means completed and Reykjavik Energy aims to achieve footprint-free production at the Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plant within a few years.

Reykjavik Energy’s corporate social responsibility places an obligation on us to help others reduce their emissions. Energy switching in transport is our most pressing task in that regard at the moment. ON Power has now installed charging stations all around the country, so that the public can reach their destinations in electric cars, irrespective of where they live, and the company has developed a business system to collect fees for the service provided. The next step is to focus on urban areas to enable residents in apartment complexes to charge their cars at home. This is a complex task and it will not be possible to solve everyone’s problems in a short period. Collaboration between ON Power, electricity utilities and municipalities in each district will play a key role in achieving good results. One can compare energy switching in transport to the energy switch that occurred in heating with district heating utilities back in its day. On that front, Icelanders pioneered a path that no other nation has been able to follow to the same extent. No other country offers better opportunities for energy switching in transport than Iceland. It is a worthy task that needs to be facilitated and accelerated as much as possible. 

To some extent, the Reykjavik Fibre Network is in the same predicament as ON Power, the other competitive company in the Reykjavik Energy Group. The dynamic development of fibre optics follows the current demand for ever-faster data transmission.

The call for gender equality in the labour market is becoming increasingly pressing. In 2011, Reykjavik Energy set itself the target of achieving equal gender distribution in management positions and doing away with gender wage differences. Both of those targets were met last year. The percentage of women in management posts within the group now amounts to 51% and gender wage differences have been abolished. In fact, at the end of the year, measurements showed a 0.3% wage difference in favour of women and this is the first time that has occurred. Calculations of wage differences between genders are now made using a special calculation model, which Reykjavik Energy has developed in collaboration with the PayAnalytics company. The model gives us instant results and thus helps us to make remuneration decisions that ensure equal rights. Seven out of ten employees of Reykjavik Energy and 95% of the technicians in the Group are men. On the other hand, seven out of ten office jobs are performed by women. This is something we want to change by, among other things, supporting an increase in the number of women in the technical sector.

All things considered, 2017 was a successful year for the operations of Reykjavik Energy. Customer satisfaction with the services of all three subsidiaries – Veitur Utilities, ON Power and the Reykjavik Fibre Network  – was high. The finances of Reykjavik Energy have strengthened so that we can now see that the owners of the company, who came to the rescue of operations and tackled the after-effects of the financial crash, are starting to reap reasonable dividends from the funds invested in the Group.