There’s a lot to be learned from Iceland, where the heat under their feet is provided by nature.
As pillars of steam rise skywards from the Hellisheidi area, one of the world’s largest geothermal facilities can be seen from kilometers away.
It capitalizes on Iceland’s reputation as a nation of fire and ice by tapping into the natural energy that is seething beneath the surface of this volcanic hotspot.
This, combined with hydroelectricity generated from the numerous waterfalls cascading from the glacier-clad mountains, makes the country’s electricity practically entirely renewable.
In Iceland, geothermal energy also heats nine out of ten buildings. When your room is warm and inviting, the source of heat is water from deep inside the Earth. Even better, power bills are around a third of the national average of over £1,000.
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Iceland has five main geothermal power facilities, the largest of which is Hellisheidi, located just outside of Reykjavik.
This use of nature’s bounty, however, does not have to be limited to volcanic hotspots.
According to a survey by the firm ARUP and the Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology, geothermal energy could heat more than two million households in the UK.
It claims that with government support, it could create up to 35,000 employment over 360 sites by 2050, supplying “all of the United Kingdom’s demands for at least 100 years.”
In the UK, the industrial heartlands, many of which are situated on suitable geological formations, are the greatest areas to find the source.
In Iceland, electricity is inexpensive, which explains the appeal of petrol-free electric or hybrid automobiles that run on volcanic energy.
Dr. Martin Voigt, a geochemist at the University of Iceland, estimates that his annual electricity bill is £150 and that he pays £204 for hot water, compared to the UK average of £1,138.
“There is heat underground everywhere,” he remarked. It just depends on how deep you need to dig and what temperature you require.”