Iceland wants to be independent from fossil fuel despite financial crisis

10:14, December 24, 2009      

Email | Print | Subscribe | Comments | Forum 

Iceland is among the countries hardest hit by the financial crisis. While trying to recover from the crisis, it plans to move the nation to use renewable energy completely since 80 percent of the nation's total energy use already stems from renewable sources which boasts the world number one in this aspect.

According to a feature report from the Iceland Review, by replacing the remaining oil and gas imports for the fishing fleet and transport sector with renewable energy, Iceland could well become the first country to be 100 percent energy independent.

While the country is still reeling in the aftermath of last fall's banking collapse, some see the economic crisis as an opportunity for change towards heightened sustainability.

First, the time is ripe to convert part of the domestic car fleet to methane and other biofuels. According to experts, by the time the economy recovers and car sales start to roll, the cost of electric cars, currently not competitive, will have fallen—paving the way for the electrification of the island's land transport, according to the report.

'We could use the opportunity now to modify the tax system to encourage a transition to using locally produced energy for transport,” says Pétur Albert Haraldsson, chairperson of Framtídarorka (FTO) Sustainable Solutions—a consultancy focusing on sustainable transport—and co-founder of the Driving Sustainability conference.

The 1970s oil crises spurred discoveries and increased harnessing of geothermal energy. Though the process of transitioning from coal to geothermal energy in Reykjavík began in the 1930s, the change was accelerated in the 70s when more and more houses were connected to the district heating grid in an effort to wean dependence on expensive oil imports. The switch to geothermal also means that CO² levels today are 45 percent lower than they would otherwise be, said the report.

The next step towards decarbonization and energy independence for Iceland is the transition towards clean transport. “One of our greatest challenges is the transition from imported fossil fuels to fuels from renewable energy for the mobile parts of our energy system,” said Minister for Energy, Industry and Tourism, Katrín Júlíusdóttir recently.

Plans are well underway. Northern Lights Energy (NLE), an investment company focusing on environmentally friendly ventures, runs the 2012–New Beginning project that aims to enable the public to replace their conventional cars with electric by 2012, according to the report.

By Xuefei Chen, People's Daily Online, Stockholm.
  • Do you have anything to say?
Special Coverage
  • Top 10 International Stories 2009
  • Top 10 Political Figures in spotlight 2009
Major headlines
Editor's Pick
  • Featured trees in NY usher in Christmas Eve
  • US plane overshoots Jamaica runway, dozens hurt
  • 21,068 Tibetans benefit from safe drinking water project in Lhasa
  • Top 10 web celebrities of 2009
  • Cold snap hits N China, disrupting power, heat supplies
  • Schumacher signs to race for Mercedes
Most Popular
Hot Forum Dicussion