Friday, September 22, 2006

Iceland Approaching 100% Renewable Energy

Why can the world's most remote, isolated, and environmentally fragile environment tackle global warming, while wealthy and resource rich North American's can't even admit it that climate change is occuring?

Iceland, once a country facing massive environmental degredation and choking coal pollution, indicates that they are approaching 100% reliance on renewable energy.

As a child half a century ago, (Iceland's president Olafur Ragnar Grimsson) seldom saw a day when Reykjavik, now a pristine capital, was not beneath a blanket of smoke. Its harbor was dominated by the coal terminal, and its waterway was clogged with coal-carrying ships.

He said Iceland has changed that by focusing on new energy sources. Had he thought in the 1950s he would see such a metamorphosis, Grimsson said, "I would have been considered a Utopian dreamer."

Granted, Iceland is blessed to a disproportionate degree with geothermal options, but North America also possesses abundant renewable sources, inlcuding significant untapped geothermal. Current production of geothermal electricity in the US is just 2,800 MW (equivalent to 4 large nuclear generators), yet the untapped capacity from California alone is an additional 4,000 MW. Combined with other renewable options North America is equally blessed in clean energy alternatives. Iceland has just two things that, to date, we've lacked - rampant environmental destruction and political will. We will end up closing the gap on at least one of those two variables. It's our choice as to which one.


DAVE said...

Makes you wonder...

Charlie Barnard said...

That's just embarassing for North America.