23. september 2004
Facts of interest for participants at the meeting of The International Partnership for the Hydrogen Economy
The Government of Iceland is presently damming muddy glacial rivers and building the gigantic power plant Kárahnjúkar (690 MW). The enormous main reservoir of 57 km2 will destroy an area of pristine wilderness and beauty. For months each summer, when the water-level is low, it will leave a huge area covered with a thick layer of powdery dust that will spread over a vast area. The dam will be filled with sediment in approximately 50-100 years, leaving irreversibly damaged land. Furthermore, dams are not even eco-friendly. The vegetation that is drowned evaporates contributing considerable greenhouse gases.
The Kárahnjúkar project is gradually coming to the attention of the world as the greatest environmental scandal in Europe of recent years.
The only purpose of the project is to produce low-price energy for a 322.000 ton aluminium smelter owned by Alcoa.
A number of other hydro plants based on damming of glacial rivers is under way, with irreversible environmental impact. Such projects are thus far from producing self-sustaining energy.
These dams will provide energy for the production of well over 1.000.000 tons of aluminium in the next few years.
Hydrogen Economy holds great promises in energy production. But, as the government of Iceland is planning such energy-demanding heavy industry, its participation in such projects as IPHE can hardly be regarded otherwise than an attempt at image-whitewashing.
An interesting question for the government of Iceland:
How does the government define the Kárahnjúkar dams and other glacial dam-projects in terms of self-sustainable energy?
When the dams have been built in order to produce energy for aluminium production, will there be any energy left for the Hydrogen Economy?