Natural resources and energy
Iceland's most important natural resources
are the abundant fish stocks and great access to
hydropower. The country also has plenty of geothermal
energy (geothermal heat), but has no major mineral
resources, though oil and natural gas exploration is off
Electricity consumption per inhabitant is among the
highest in the world, but most of the electricity is
used in the aluminum industry. Over 85 percent of the
electricity consumed is generated in the country. Almost
three quarters of this comes from hydropower and just
under a quarter from geothermal heat. Almost the entire
population is heating their homes with natural hot water
from hot springs. Around 10 percent of the energy
demand is covered by imported fuel, mainly diesel for
the fishing fleet and gasoline for cars.
Major exports by Iceland with a full list of the top products exported by the country. Includes trade value in U.S. dollars and the percentage for each product category.
Hydropower and geothermal heat give Iceland a
relatively clean energy use. All electricity and
two-thirds of total energy consumption comes from
renewable energy sources.
Iceland has long had plans to create the world's
first "hydrogen economy" and phase out gasoline and
diesel in cars, buses and ships. The country's large
capacity for electricity generation is intended to be
used for the production of large quantities of hydrogen,
which in turn can be used to generate electricity in
powerful batteries. The world's first commercial
refueling station for hydrogen powered vehicles opened
in Reykjavík in 2003.
Iceland has invaluable resources in the form of land,
water and air with limited environmental impact.
However, environmental organizations have protested
against the hydropower expansion, especially the
construction of the Kárahnjúkar power plant in eastern
Iceland, which was in use in 2008.
Abbreviationfinder: A popular acronym site in the world covering abbreviation for each country. For example, IS stands for Iceland. Visit itypeusa for more information about Iceland.
FACTS - ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
Energy use per person
17,479 kilograms of oil equivalent (2015)
Electricity consumption per person
53832 kilowatt hours, kWh (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions in total
1 984 thousand tonnes (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant
6.1 tons (2014)
The share of energy from renewable sources
77.0 percent (2015)
Norwegian companies should look for oil
The state-owned Norwegian oil company Petero AS announces that it will start
drilling for oil northeast of Iceland.
Negotiations start in the EFTA Court
Iceland is accused of discriminating against foreign savers in connection
with the bank's Icesave bankruptcy.
Import ban on Icelandic mackerel
The European Parliament bans the import of Icelandic mackerel and introduces
a ban on landing in EU ports. The sanctions are a result of the EU and Iceland
dispute since 2010 on mackerel quotas, where Iceland unilaterally increased its
catch quota as the mackerel population grew in Icelandic waters.
EU negotiations create conflicts within the government
Negotiations on EU membership are moving forward, while two Ministers from
the Left-Green are demanding that they be re-examined. Prime Minister
Sigurðardóttir calls for calm within the coalition.
President Grímsson re-elected
President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson is re-elected for a fifth term. He gets 53
percent of the vote against 33 percent of the challenger, TV reporter Þóra
Former Prime Minister Haarde avoids punishment
Former Prime Minister Geir Hilmar Haarde of the Independence Party is
acquitted of three out of four counts in the national prosecution and avoids
punishment. Haarde is, however, convicted of failing to call for special
government meetings during the banking crisis of 2008. The judgment refers to
Article 17 of the Constitution. Haarde believes that the judges have bowed to
political pressure and have given his opponents a "consolation prize" by folding
him at one point. He believes that the verdict is a violation of the European
Convention on Human Rights.
The court process against Haarde begins
Former Prime Minister Geir Hilmar Haarde is facing a judicial process to
investigate his responsibility for the banking crisis in 2008. Haarde describes
the trial as a father's and the prosecution as a political persecution.
Conflict over mackerel fishing
After Iceland's mackerel catch increased sharply in 2011 (see Agriculture and
Fisheries), the country receives harsh criticism from the EU and Norway for not
wanting to compromise on catch quotas. The EU and Norway claim that Iceland's
unilaterally raised quotas threaten the mackerel population in the North