Scotland powered by Icelandic volcano “extension cable”, new plans say


A MASSIVE underwater “extension-cable” means Scotland could be powered by Iceland’s volcanoes, new plans show.

The 1,170km link would transfer geothermal energy between the two nations.

Geothermal power works by filtering water through hot volcanic rocks and then using the steam to drive electricity generators.

Iceland – known for its lively volcanic activity, geysers and hot springs – currently generates more power than it needs for the 320,000 people who live there.

Landsvirkjun – Iceland’s state-owned energy company – has been studying the idea of transferring the power to Scotland and described the £3bn link as “economically feasible”.

Scottish energy bosses said they “welcome the ambitious project”.


“Security of supply”

The energy drive also reflects an EU-promoted move to use renewable energy sources and move away from the consumption of fossil fuels such as coal and oil.

The power link would cost £1.3bn to lay with a further £1.6bn being spent on several geothermal plants and hydroelectric dams.

These would be used to generate up to six terawatt hours of energy for Britain annually – enough to power Glasgow for a whole year.

The proposed undersea cable to Scotland would also produce yearly revenues of £262m which would help Iceland repair its public finances after the collapse of its banking system in 2008.

However, Hardur Arnason, chief executive of Landsvirkjun, said: “We have a lot of electricity for the very few people who live here.

“It is very natural to consider connecting ourselves to other markets.”

The SNP government, which is keen to explore the commercial potential for Scotland to exploit its own geothermal heat, said it was supportive of the Icelandic move.

A spokeswoman said: “Although we have yet to have formal talks on this subject, Scotland welcomes the ambitious concept of an interconnector with Iceland, as part of a wider picture of connecting energy markets, concentrating on low carbon generation and ensuring security of supply.

“With our geographic position, and grid upgrades already in the pipeline to quadruple exports to the rest of Britain, we are well placed to receive any link from Iceland.

“Scotland would have a key role to play and expertise to offer that would benefit not only the GB market but also the wider European market beyond.”