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Environment

Environmental affairs are an important aspect of discussion in the society and Reykjavik Energy’s (OR) performance and that of its subsidiaries in this field is therefore important. The goal of the OR Group is to reduce the carbon footprint of its operations by 60% between 2015 and 2030. The OR Group’s main environmental programmes can be seen in the following list. The operations of the OR Group are certified in accordance with the ISO 14001 environmental management system. The OR Group regularly submits reports to licensing authorities, i.e. the health authorities, the National Energy Authority and the Environment Agency, see appendix.

The OR Group has focused on managing and publishing information about greenhouse gas emissions from its operations, as set out in sections E1-E6. Carbon indicators are published and hopefully they will help to contextualize the organization’s carbon emissions, including in relation to other organizations. Furthermore, emphasis is placed on water and waste management, see section E7-E8. In sections dealing with special environmental impacts, E10, an environmental incident at the Andakílsá Hydropower Station and a failure in the sewage pumping station at Faxaskjól is being discussed as well as hydrogen sulphide emissions, sewage treatment and more.

Environmental priorities of the Reykjavik Energy Group:

  • To reduce the carbon footprint in operations by 60% from 2015 to 2030
  • To emphasise water conservation, the responsible management of water resources and ensure the long-term supply of potable water
  • Show responsible handling and management of low-temperature resources
  • Show responsible handling and management of high-temperature resources, to reduce hydrogen sulphide emissions and discharge geothermal water in a responsible way
  • Show responsible handling and management of sewerage systems  
  • Handle waste in a responsible way
  • To continue to apply effective procedures to restore disturbed areas
  • To play an active role in promoting climate-friendly transport

Reykjavik Energy's Carbon Emissions 2015 to 2030

Affordable and clean energy Industry, innovation and infrastructure Sustainable cities and communities Climate action Promotes UN‘s Sustainable Development Goals

Baseline GHG emissions, mitigation, additional emissions without CarbFix technology 2015-2030

The Reykjavik Energy Group (OR Group) has set itself the goal of reducing the emissions of carbon dioxide of its operations by 60% between 2015 and 2030. The emissions are calculated according to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol – Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard. Greenhouse gas mitigation projects like carbon sequestration in land restoration is reported separately, see appendices. The reason for this is that, with mitigation projects like forestation and land reclamation, greenhouse gasses are captured from the atmosphere and sequestered in biological sinks, without directly reducing emissions from the operations. Reinjection of the carbon dioxide from the Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plant and mineralization of it in the basaltic rock using the CarbFix technology, accounts for the largest share of reducing the Group’s carbon footprint, see Gas into Rock. This reduction is within the boundaries of the Hellisheidi Geothermal Power plant. In 2017, the relative carbon dioxide reduction of the plant was almost 35% of its emissions.

Did you know?

Since the re-injection of carbon dioxide started at the Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plant in mid-2014 some 25,000 tonnes have been mineralised in the basaltic bedrock by the plant. This sequestration is equivalent to the removal of about 14,000 Toyota Yaris petrol-fuelled cars that drive 15,000 km a year, from the streets of the capital area. 

Direct & Indirect GHG Emissions 2017

  • Scope 1 - Direct emissions: Geothermal power plants, low-temperature fields, supply and distribution systems, vehicles and premises.
  • Scope 2 - Indirect emissions: Electricity and hot water for own use.
  • Scope 3 - Indirect emissions: Waste, employees air travel, employees travel to and from work.

In 2017, scope 1 or direct emissions from the Reykjavik Energy Group’s operations amounted to 40,300 tonnes of CO2 equivalents. The emissions are from the geothermal power plants of ON Power, Reykjavik Energy’s subsidiary, due to the production of electricity and hot water, the production of hot water in the low-temperature fields of Veitur Utilities for space heating, as well as Veitur Utilities’ pipeline system and from the car fleet and premises of the Group. Scope 2, indirect emissions from purchased electricity and heating for own use amounted to 2,800 tonnes of CO2 equivalents. Scope 3, indirect emissions from waste produced by the operations, as well as emission from employees commuting to and from work and their air travel, amounted to 990 tonnes of CO2 equivalents. Greenhouse gas mitigation projects like carbon sequestration in land restoration is reported separately. As with these mitigation projects, greenhouse gasses are captured from the atmosphere and sequestered in biological sinks, without directly reducing emissions from the operations. Greenhouse gas emissions from the Group’s operations, without mitigation, makes up 2% of total emissions in Iceland on the basis of the total emissions recorded in 2015 (Environment Agency of Iceland, 2018).

Did you know?

About 180 employees of the Reykjavik Energy Group, i.e. over 35% of staff, used climate-friendly transport to and from work in 2017. Thus they have reduced the indirect greenhouse gas emissions of the Group since 2014 when the Group started to offer transport contracts. 

Carbon intensity is understood as the level of carbon emissions relative to each operating unit, e.g. income, production units, etc. On the basis of the total revenue and size of the premises of the Reykjavik Energy Group, the Group’s carbon intensity has decreased since 2015. 

One of Reykjavik Energy’s subsidiary, ON Power, produces electricity for consumers and hot water, which is sold wholesale to Veitur Utilities, one of Reykjavik Energy’s subsidiaries. The carbon footprint for each produced unit of electricity at ON Power has decreased since 2015. Veitur Utilities distributes electricity and hot water for space heating to consumers along with potable water and manages the sewerage system. At Veitur Utilities, the carbon footprint of per produced unit of potable water, hot water and electricity has decreased since 2015. The Reykjavik Fibre Network is a telecommunications company owned by Reykjavik Energy. In 2017 the carbon footprint of the data transmission through the fibre network was assessed and turned out to be 0.7 g CO2 equivalents/gigabyte, see table and figure

Description Unit 2015 2016 2017
Greenhouse gas emissions (scope 1, 2 og 3) without land use mitigation t of CO2 e per year 71,485 47,599 44,073
Revenues ISK Billion 40.3 41.4 44.0
Size of premises Thousand m3 780 780 780
Carbon intencity per unit of revenue t of CO2 e per year/ISK billion 1,774 1,150 1,002
Carbon intencity per unit of premises t of CO2 e per year/thousand m3 92 61 57
Potable water:
Carbon intencity per produced unit of potable water and distribution g CO2 e per year/ m3 5.4 5.2 5.1
Hot water for space heating:
Carbon intencity per produced unit of hot water from low temterature fields* g CO2 e per year/kWh - - -
Carbon intencity per produced unit of hot water from geothermal power plants g CO2 e per year/kWh 9.8 8.3 7.5
Carbon intencity per produced unit of hot water distribution g CO2 e per year/kWh 0.05 0.06 0.06
Weighted average of carbon intencitys for hot water (Veitur Utilities) g CO2 e per year/kWh 3.7 3.1 2.8
Electricity
Carbon intencity per produced unit of electricity at power plants** g CO2 e per year/kWh 9.8 8.3 7.5
Carbon intencity per produced unit of distributed electricity g CO2 e per year/kWh 0.6 0.6 0.6
Total carbon intencity per unit of produced electricity (ON Power) and distributed electricity (Veitur Utilities) g CO2 e per year/kWh 10.4 8.9 8.1
Wastewater systems:
Carbon intencity per population equivalent (p.e) of wastewater systems g CO2 e per year/p.e. 1,119 1,137 1,060
Data transmission through the fibre network:
Carbon intencity on data transmission through fibre network g CO2 e per year/gigabyte 0.7

*Carbon footprint has been assessed approximately 0 g/kWst.
**According to Iceland Inventory Report, the weighted average of greenhouse gas emissions per kWh of electricity produced by hydro power and geothermal energy in Iceland in 2015 was 10.1 g. For hydroelectric power, greenhouse gas emissions per kWh of electricity amount to 1.5 g and for geothermal energy 32.8 g.

Did you know?

The average household carbon footprint is 390 kg CO2 equivalents per year, based on houses of 200 square metres containing families of four to five members.

E3 Direct & Indirect Energy Consumption

Affordable and clean energy Industry, innovation and infrastructure Sustainable cities and communities Climate action Promotes UN‘s Sustainable Development Goals

The Reykjavik Energy Group produces renewable energy, electricity and hot water, from geothermal energy and hydro power. The percentage of the Group’s own use of electricity in relation to the volume produced in 2017 was 10% and 1% of the produced hot water. Direct use of primary energy of electricity and hot water has increased since 2015. Fossil fuels, particularly diesel oil, are used directly in connection with the production and operations of the Reykjavik Energy Group. Use of diesel oil has increased since 2015 but the use of gasoline has decreased. In order to reduce the direct use of energy due to transport related to the operations, a schedule has been established for the renewal of the car fleet by climate friendly vehicles until 2030, since there is still room for improvements, see appendices. For the information to be comparable, the primary energy consumption is expressed in mega joule (MJ), see table. 

Direct primary energy use (own use) of the Reykjavik Energy Group Unit 2015 2016 2017
System:
Electricity MJ 5,257,774,600 5,404,789,400 5,624,491,850
Hot water* MJ 200,466,900 177,322,800 273,098,805
Transport:
Methane MJ 410,700 562,500 867,200
Petrol** MJ 940,200 800,800 571,600
Diesel oil** MJ 6,392,700 6,737,900 6,524,000

* Primary energy use is based on utilisation down to 5°C.
** The calculation quotients for fossil fuels are based on their lower heat value.

The Reykjavik Energy Group’s own use of electricity is solely for the production of hot and cold water, the pumping of sewage and the operation of premises. Own use of electricity and hot water in relation to the size of the premises and number of employees of the Group in 2017 has increased since 2015.  Own use of fossil fuel in relation to number of employees has decreased since 2015, see table.  For the information to be comparable, the primary energy consumption is expressed in mega joule (MJ).

Carbon indicators Unit 2015 2016 2017
Electricity (direct primary energy use) MJ 5,257,774,600 5,404,789,400 5,624,491,850
Hot water (direct primary energy use* MJ 200,466,900 177,322,800 273,098,805
Size of premises Thousand m3 780 780 780
Employees Number 458 498 509
Methane MJ 410,700 562,500 867,200
Fossil fuel** MJ 7,332,900 7,538,700 7,095,600
Premisses:
Electricity MJ/m3 6,741 6,929 7,211
Hot water MJ/m3 257 227 350
Employees:
Electricity MJ/employee 11,479,857 10,852,991 11,050,082
Hot water MJ/employee 437,701 356,070 536,540
Methane MJ/employee 897 1,130 1,704
Fossil fuel MJ/employee 16,011 15,138 13,940

* Primary energy use is based on utilisation down to 5°C.
** The calculation quotients for fossil fuels are based on their lower heat value.

Ratio of direct primary energy use (own use) 2017

Ratio of renewable energy of total energy use 2017

The Reykjavik Energy Group produces renewable energy, electricity and hot water for space heating, by utilising geothermal energy and hydro power. Part of this energy is used by the Group for its own operations. The main energy source that is used in operations is electricity. Percentage of renewable energy  is 99% of total energy use. For the information to be comparable, the primary energy use is expressed in mega joule (MJ).

Energy use Unit 2015 2016 2017
Electricity (direct primary energy use) MJ 5,257,774,600 5,404,789,400 5,624,491,850
Hot water (direct primary energy use)* MJ 200,466,900 177,322,800 273.098.805
Methane MJ 410,700 562,500 867.200
Fossil fuel MJ 7,332,900 7,538,700 7.095.600
Total energy use MJ 5,465,985,100 5,590,213,400 5,905,553,455
Percentage of renewable energy of total energy use % 99 99 99

* Primary energy use is based on utilisation down to 5°C.

Did you know?

In spring 2017, we set a goal to reduce the total food waste in our staff cafeteria from 20 kg to 16 kg per day. In December 2017, the number had been reduced from 20 kg to 9 kg! Which totals about 20 meals per day.

Endurnýjanleg orkukræfni

Photo: Gretar Ívarsson

For every mega joule (MJ) that the Reykjavik Energy Group is using of non-renewable energy, 830 mega joules are renewable energy.  

Quality of potable water in Reykjavik

In 2017 Veitur Utilities, one of Reykjavik Energy’s subsidiary, ensured the supply of potable water to the residents and business community in the distribution area, in accordance with established quality standards and the statutory and regulatory provisions of Veitur Utilities, see appendices. 

Veitur Utilities operate thirteen water utilities, and the water is used in the Reykjavik capital area as well as in West and South Iceland. ON Power, one of Reykjavik Energy’s subsidiary, has two water sources, see appendices. The water utilities’ distribution system caters for up to 45% of the nation. Preventive measures are systematically worked on and the quality of the water is monitored. 

In 2017 all of the samples that were taken in Reykjavik municipality met quality requirements. Bacteria, which exceeded the quality limit, were found in one sample in West Iceland, but when the sampling was repeated the sample fulfilled quality requirements. Otherwise all samples taken in West and South Iceland met quality requirements, see appendices

Heidmörk is Veitur Utilities’ main water extraction field for the capital area and this water production is based solely on pure and untreated groundwater. Veitur Utilities keeps the water protection area under surveillance, including the transport of oil and petrol, along with other hazardous substances, see appendix. Water conservation is delimited around the water sources. The Reykjavik Energy Group strongly emphasises water conservation to ensure future generations can enjoy the natural quality of wholesome and untreated water. 

Apart from potable water use, a large volume of water is used for the geothermal power plants’ operations and cooling of equipment.

Did you know?

Each Icelander uses an average of 150 litres of water a day in cooking, bathing, toilets and washing.

E8 Waste Management

Sustainable cities and communities Climate action Promotes UN‘s Sustainable Development Goals

Waste 2013-2017

Greenhouse gas emissions from waste have risen since 2015. Sludge from sewage treatment plants is the highest percentage of the total volume of waste to landfilling, i.e. about 60% of the total volume. Asbestos accounted for 30% of the total volume. There is a limited possibility of controlling the amount of waste of this type, but care is taken to ensure that it is treated in approved landfill sites. The volume of other waste either increased or decreased. Office-waste increased, among other things, due to one-time operations as a significant part of staff moved this year due to moisture damage in the premises of Reykjavik Energy. Appendices show how waste is divided between waste categories, work sites and municipalities. 

A campaign was launched to reduce food wastage and it dropped by 50% towards the end of 2017. This campaign continues. 

Umhverfis- og auðlindastefna

Photo: Magnea Magnúsdóttir

The Reykjavik Energy Group works according to an Environmental and Resource Policy, which marks the Group’s commitment to steadily improve on environmental issues. It is founded on five principles which apply to all operating units: Responsible resource management, value of utility operations, minimising the impact of emissions caused by operations, as well as the impact on society and the activities of the company. The policy forms the basis for good collaboration with stakeholders. The Environmental and Resources Policy is founded on the values of the comprehensive policy of the Reykjavik Energy Group. The Group has defined over twenty significant environmental factors. These factors are defined in order to be able to approach the organisation of environmental issues with clear objectives and defined responsibilities for those concerned.

E10 Environmental Impacts

In this section the environmental impacts of the significant environmental factors identified by the Reykjavik Energy Group are discussed, taking into account the principles stated in the Environmental and Resource Policy of the company. Furthermore, an environmental incident at the Andakílsá Hydropower Station and a failure in the sewage pumping station at Faxaskjól is being discussed.                                                               

An emphasis is placed on the responsible management in low- and high temperature fields, abatement of hydrogen sulpide, less discharge of geothermal water and wastewater from the sewerage system. The hydrogen sulphide abatement unit at the Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plant has been operating effectively and removes about 70% of the hydrogen sulphide and 35% of the carbon dioxide emissions from the power plant. Achieving the management of the discharge of geothermal water at the Hellisheidi and Nesjavellir Geothermal Power Plants has been prioritise. With the advent of the new sewage treatment plants at Kjalarnes, Akranes and Borgarnes, the residents and business community in all the collection areas of the company will soon have the option of connecting to sewerage systems or treatment works. 

Environmental Incident at the Andakílsá River

Umhverfisslys við Andakílsárvirkjun.jpg

Photo: Ólöf Andrjesdóttir

A considerable amount of silt from the intake reservoir of the Andakílsá Hydropower Station was carried into the Andakílsár river in mid-May 2017, when the reservoir was drained for a condition assessment of a dam construction. The surveillance was insufficient and the staff of ON Power, one of Reykjavik Energy’s subsidiary, failed to realise the extent of the solid discharge while the bottom outlet gate of the dam remained open. ON Power undertakes responsibility for the environmental effects on the flora and fauna of the Andakílsár river and has endeavoured to reduce them.

The Marine Research Institute was asked to investigate the environmental impact and provide guidance on responses. A work group was appointed, comprising experts from the Marine Research Institute, the University of Iceland, representatives from angling associations, the health authorities of West Iceland, Skorradalshreppur municipality, Borgarbyggd municipality and ON Power. Mitigation measures were implemented to reduce negative effects on the flora and fauna. 

The situation continues to be monitored so that decisions on further measures can be made.

Failure at Faxaskjól Wastewater Treatment Station

In June 2017, there was a malfunction in the emergency outlet in the wastewater treatment station at Faxaskjól in Reykjavík. Untreated wastewater went into the ocean for 17 days, from mid-June to mid-July. Veitur Utilities, one of Reykjavik Energy’s subsidiary, neglected to send official notification on the matter and the company regrets any discomfort this may have caused the public. In the wake of this, Veitur Utilities and the Reykjavik Health Authority revised work procedures and changed them to make notifications to the public more systematic. An overview of the wastewater system can now be seen on Veitur Utilities’ website. The primary treatment station at Faxaskjól transports wastewater from Nordlingaholt, part of Árbær, Breidholt, Fossvogur, Gardabær and Kópavogur to the wastewater treatment plant in Ánanaust.

In 2017, production in the low-temperature fields of Veitur Utilities, one of Reykjavik Energy’s subsidiary, in the capital area and most distribution areas in South and West Iceland was in accordance with the company’s quality standards and statutory and regulatory provisions.  Veitur Utilities operates thirteen district heating utilities: one in the capital area, which is the largest, and five in West Iceland and South Iceland, see appendices. The district heating utilities service 70% of the nation. Low-temperature fields are utilised in a stable and balanced manner in the capital area and everything indicates that this usage can be maintained for the foreseeable future, see appendices. The condition of most of the low-temperature fields in South and West Iceland is good, although there are some exceptions, such as in Laugaland in Holt, which services populated areas in Hella and Hvolsvellir and the Hveragerdi area. In the autumn of 2017,  drilling for hot water was undertaken in Laugaland, but the results did not live up to expectations. The situation will be re-evaluated in the spring of 2018. Water and steam production improved in Hveragerdi in 2017, compared to 2016. 

Did you know?

In the capital area, the hot water from the low-temperature fields is used for space heating. The fields are located in Ellidaárdalur and Laugarnes within Reykjavik, as well as Reykir and Reykjahlíd in Mosfellsbær.

The Geothermal Production Fields in the Hengill Area

In 2017, power production at Nesjavellir and Hellisheidi was in accordance with the geothermal utilisation licence for the power plants and the objectives of ON Power, one of Reykjavik Energy’s subsidiary. It transpired that the pressure drop in the production field of the Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plant was not as severe as had been expected. ON Power carefully monitors the pressure drop in Hverahlíd and in the older production field of the Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plant, see appendices. In 2017, preparations started on obtaining a licence to expand the production field further to ensure the sustainable utilisation of the geothermal resources for the Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plant.  Production at the Nesjavellir Geothermal Power Plant was similar to the past years.

Discharge of Geothermal Water

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In 2017, some 60% of the geothermal water from Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plant was reinjected into the geothermal field at the power plant. Some 30% were released as steam through the plant’s cooling towers and the rest, some 7%, was released via overflow, see appendices. In 2017, some 50% of the geothermal water from Nesjavellir Geothermal Power Plant has been reinjected via injection wells, see appendices. Geothermal water is reinjected to protect surface water and groundwater because disposal water is hotter and has a different chemical composition than groundwater. 

Another objective is to manage the reinjection to better utilise the geothermal reservoir. Under certain conditions in the operations of Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plant, only a part of the geothermal water can be reinjected via deep injection wells, which are connected to the same high-temperature system as the production wells. Under these conditions a part of the geothermal water is injected into shallow wells near the power plant. 

In recent years, many research and development projects have been carried out to meet Hellisheidi reinjection requirements. Significant results and knowledge have been achieved, see appendices. With the redesign of the cooling tower at the Nesjavellir Geothermal Power Plant in 2017, the discharge of heated groundwater will decrease considerably.   It is assumed that water temperature in streams by Lake Thingvallavatn will decrease, see graph. The concentration of chemicals in monitoring wells in the vicinity of both power plants is below the limits set for potable water, see appendices.

Water temperature in Varmagjá at Lake Thingvallavatn

The Nesjavellir Getohermal Power Plant became operational in 1990.
When electricity production started at the plant in 1998, thermal pollution increase significantly.
Thermal pollution decreased somewhat after reinjection wells came into use between 2004-2008 and the cooling tower came into operation in 2005.

Did you know?

The concentration of trace elements in geothermal water in Iceland is considerably lower than in geothermal fields abroad for geological reasons. Arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury in geothermal water from the Nesjavellir Geothermal Power Plant have generally been considered to have a potentially negative effect on the flora and fauna of Lake Thingvallavatn. Measurements do not show any statistically significant impact from these trace elements on the flora and fauna.

Induces Seismic Activity

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Jarðskjálftar.jpg

Photo: Gretar Ívarsson

Reinjection can cause seismic activity, so-called induced seismic activity or triggered earthquakes. This is well known in the reinjection fields of the Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plant, particularly in the Húsmúli area, see appendix. The earthquakes occur when the reinjection releases tension that has built up in the bedrock due to movements in the earth’s crust. ON Power, one of Reykjavik Energy’s subsidiary, follows work procedures that are designed to minimise the risk of induced earthquakes in the area.  

In the latter half of 2017, four notifications were sent to the Icelandic Meteorological Office and the Department of Civil Protection of the Icelandic Police due to changes in reinjection. Minor tremors were measured in connection with these changes, as was to be expected, but none of them were powerful enough to be felt in populated areas. Four new seismic indicators were installed to the south of Hengill in the autumn of 2017.

Hydrogen Sulphide Emissions

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In 2017 the concentration of ambient hydrogen sulphide (H2S) emissions in urban areas exceeded regulatory limits, twice in Nordlingaholt and twice in Hveragerdi. The hydrogen sulphide abatement unit at the Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plant has been operating effectively and removes about 70% of the hydrogen sulphide emissions from the power plant, see appendices

In December 2017, the connection of the hydrogen sulphide abatement unit, for further removal and reinjection, was completed. Testing subsequently started and the results are expected in 2018. Hydrogen sulphide emissions from the geothermal power plants in the Hengill area have been ON Power’s, one of Reykjavik Energy’s subsidiary, biggest environmental challenge. Hydrogen sulphide causes odour pollution, corrosion, and in high concentrations can be a hazard to human health. Hydrogen sulphide emissions from the Nesjavellir and Hellisheidi geothermal power plants amounted to approximately 9.5 thousand tonnes in 2017, see appendices.

A plan for traceless operations is being undertaken.

Hydrogen Sulphide at Nordlingaholt 2017
Hydrogen Sulphide in Hveragerdi 2017
Hydrogen Sulphide in Laekjarbotnar 2017
Did you know?

Pyrite is a mineral which is formed from hydrogen sulphide.

Jardhitagardur (e. Geothermal Park) at Hellisheidi

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Jardhitagardurinn - Geothermal Park

In 2017, jardhitagardur (e. geothermal park) was established by the Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plant in an endeavour to increase the diversified usage of the thermal energy, electricity and geothermal gas from the plant. A diversified use of geothermal energy can increase efficiency and strengthen environmentally sound operations and innovation in the economy. Separated water from the Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plant is used for the production of dietary supplements by the geoSilica company and various start-up businesses have shown an interest in using the carbon dioxide from the plant.  

Discharge from the Wastewater System

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Wastewater Treatment Plants

In 2017, new wastewater treatment plants became operational in Kjalarnes and Akranes and the plant in Borgarnes will become operational in the spring of 2018. In all the collection areas of the company, the residents and business community have the option to access to wastewater systems or treatment works in accordance with statutory and regulatory requirements and the objectives of Veitur Utilities, one of Reykjavik Energy’s subsidiary. Veitur Utilities manages the development and operation of wastewater systems in Reykjavik and West Iceland, see appendices. Wastewater from Kópavogur, Mosfellsbaer and Seltjarnarnes, in addition to parts of Gardabaer, is also handled in sewage treatment plants at Ánanaust and Klettagardar. 

The wastewater systems of Veitur Utilities service 40% of the country.  Results of measurements on the periphery of the dilution area in Faxaflói in 2017 show that the number of microbes was under environmental limits, but above the limits in several places along the coast, see appendices

The wastewater discharge report of Veitur Utilities is in the appendix. Samples collected from drainage and/or at reception of biological wastewater treatment plants in West Iceland show microbes were above environmental limits. Over the past years, endeavours have been made to find an explanation for this in collaboration with the health authorities of West Iceland. An acceptable explanation for the presence of the microbes has yet to be found.

Did you know?

With the advent of wastewater treatment in the capital area, pollution was significantly reduced along the coast, which made it possible to bring into service a geothermal beach in Nauthólsvík.

Restoration of Disturbed Areas

Climate action Life on land Promotes UN‘s Sustainable Development Goals

The Reykjavik Energy Group administers about 19,000 hectares, some 16,000 hectares of which are within protected areas, see appendices. The appendices contain a list of the species of birds and plants on the Red List who have habitats within the areas. The emphasis is placed on restoration and reclamation of the natural environment and reducing the visual impact of the Reykjavik Energy Group’s developing and operating areas. This is done in collaboration with the licensing authorities and in accordance with the objectives of the Group. Some seven hectares of land were reclaimed with local vegetation in parallel with new constructions in 2017. 

The environmental and land reclamation director of ON Power, one of Reykjavik Energy’s subsidiary, won the Ölfuss 2017 Environmental Award for her pioneering work in land reclamation in Hellisheidi. 

The Hengill area is a diversified recreation area, but walking paths have significantly deteriorated as a result of the increased traffic of hikers, for example, Ölkelduháls, Sleggjubeinsskard, Skeggjadalur and east of Tjarnahnjúkur, as well as Álftatjörn. 

Did you know?

In its calls for tenders, the Reykjavik Energy Group sets the condition that vegetation that would otherwise be destroyed during construction should be preserved and used again in the restoration of the same area.

Procurement

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Innkaup.jpg

Photo: Bjarni Líndal

The Reykjavik Energy Group procures a great deal of goods and services, particularly when it comes to piping materials and electrical equipment. Procurement requirements are evaluated and efforts are made to utilise materials that have been purchased or are in stock or to sell them off. There was a good usage of older inventories in 2017 and the stock position decreased by 12% between years. 

Eco-friendly labels are favoured in the procurement of operational goods, such as paper and detergents, for example. In 2017, some 50% of the procurement of photo-copying paper, envelopes, printed material, detergents, and stationery and printing cartridges carried eco-friendly labels. Printing and photocopying is controlled and has contracted by 22% since 2015, see appendix. 

The Reykjavik Energy Group has not screened its suppliers according to environmental indicators. The companies do not have any assessments of the potential or real risks posed by the negative environmental impact of their supply chain or responses to those impacts.

Did you know?

Over the past two years we have reduced the number of printed and posted energy bills and account statements. Printed final adjustment notifications are only sent out to customers who are 68 years old or older. The use of paper and envelopes for energy, water and sewerage bills has therefore contracted by 40% in this period.

Use of Substances

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The principal hazardous substances used by the Reykjavik Energy Group are asbestos, the base material used in insulation foam, chlorine, acids and bases, welding gases, geothermal gases, oil and solvents. In 2017, hazardous substances were used considerably, as in previous years. The improvements that have been undertaken regarding the storage, sorting and disposal of hazardous substances have increased the staff’s awareness of the importance of these issues. 

In the spring of 2017, workshops on hazardous substances were held for the staff of Veitur Utilities, one of Reykjavik Energy’s subsidiaries, who work with these substances. The Reykjavik Energy Group does not emit any ozone-depleting substances in its activities. The transport of various hazardous substances is covered in the appendix.

Remarks and Grievances

Ábendingar og kvartanir

Photo: Einar Örn Jónsson

An environmental incident occurred at the Andakílsá Hydropower Station when a large amount of silt from the intake reservoir of the station was carried into the river, see more detailed account of the environmental incident in this Annual Report. A minor oil leak accident occurred in a water protected area by Raudsgil in Borgarfjördur, where a clean-up was required. In 2017, some 600 notifications were received from customers concerning environmental issues and 560 of them concerned conduct, 13 concerned hydrogen sulphide emissions, 8 concerned the discharge of wastewater from the wastewater system into the sea, 6 regarded the environmental accident in  Andakílsá, one regarded noise and one regarded the quality of the potable water. 

In 2017, some 60 notifications regarding environmental issues were received from the staff of Reykjavik Energy Group and most of them concerned conduct, i.e. over 40. All of the notifications were examined and responses are discussed in the appendix. The appendix also examines notifications to licensing authorities and their reasons.