Oct 21, 2007

Iceland meets California

How is Iceland poised to help the state of California? California has set a goal of deriving 20% of its power from renewable sources by 2010, and it needs Iceland’s help. On October 12, Iceland President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson visited Los Angeles to officially open the new headquarters of Iceland America Energy, a company that will accelerate geothermal energy production in California.

There is a large difference of scale between these two political entities: California’s population is more than 121 times the size of Iceland’s population, and California’s geothermal power totals more than 13,000 gigawatt hours a year to Iceland’s 2,631. Yet Iceland derives approximately 25% of its energy from geothermal sources, while California obtains just 2% of its energy in this manner.

Iceland America Energy has already signed a contract with Pacific Gas & Electric Company to drill wells in the Imperial Valley to harness geothermal power that will supply electricity to San Francisco. Other major projects are planned near Bakersfield, Mammoth Lake, and at the Geysers (one of the largest geothermal reservoirs in the world, north of the lovely metropolis of Santa Rosa—hometown of yrs. truly).

Surely the 200 or so Icelanders who live in Los Angeles are celebrating the arrival of a little piece of Iceland that already appears to be a very big deal. I’m thinking that L.A. bookstores should start stocking up on Laxness and Indriðason, because Iceland is going to be HOT!

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