Iceland: A 100% renewables example in the modern era

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Contributed date

June 1, 2020 - 7:46pm

Critical Commentary

This article brings up the current state of Iceland and how they use renewable sources. Iceland has achieved 100% renewable energy when it comes to producing electricity. This is true for the capital where ⅔ or residents live but it was difficult to find if that held true for the scattered communities across the island. For electricity 75% comes from hydro and the other 25% is from geothermal energy. Iceland is also able to supply almost 90% of hot water and heat through geothermal as well. While these are just some stats this is important to my project because it is an example of a pretty isolated area that has achieved a very high level of sustainable energy. Just like in past examples of renewable energy cities because of the competitive rates it brings in certain types of business which furthers development. The fact that they use such a high percentage of geothermal is what makes it very interesting for my project. It is an excellent example of a place that does not have too many resources but uses what it has very efficiently and is able to utilize it on a mass scale. Geothermal is a very particular source that not many areas have access to but is a very powerful source of energy that does not require much refining. While they already produce a lot of energy from these geothermal wells they are still expanding to capture more of the outputted energy. Before they were mainly powered by coal and oil as a majority for the country. Since they do not have too much land area or much air traffic the smog stayed for long periods of time and was very prevalent in daily life for those who lived around the plants. Their transition is also very relatable to this class because the majority of their coal and oil that was used during the 1900s was imported from other countries. This made them very dependent and vulnerable if there was ever a blip. Which there was in the 1970s they went through an oil crisis. This was a great reality check for them and helped open their eyes to the benefits of transition. This article then addresses the future possibilities for the state and what they will do with their energy. They have a very ambitious plan to build a 700 mile underwater cable to export excess energy to the British Isles. This is very interesting because it is an early example of a country profiting off a natural resource as renewable energy. Not only that but it will introduce competition in all of England and could spark future production. Iceland as an example is important to my project because it is another unique example of a little creativity that can completely transform a country's needs and how they produce energy. 


Gipe, P. (2012, November 9). Iceland: A 100% renewables example in the modern era. Retrieved from

Cite as

Paul Gipe, "Iceland: A 100% renewables example in the modern era", contributed by Logan Young, The Energy Rights Project, Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography, last modified 1 June 2020, accessed 16 January 2022.