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Construction work on the expansion of Búrfell has been ongoing since April, 2016. The expansion aims to secure the utilisation of 14% of the untapped energy that flows past the station every year.

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Maximum utilisation of the natural resources and increased flexibility in operations

The new station will have an installed capacity of 100 MW

The installed capacity of the new power station will be 100 MW (one turbine) but there are plans to expand the station by a further 40 MW. The expansion offers increased flexibility in operations and the option of carrying out maintenance work at the existing station without significant reductions in energy generation. This is in keeping with Landsvirkjun’s role, which is to maximise the potential yield and value of the natural resources it has been entrusted with, in a sustainable, responsible and efficient manner.

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The Expansion of the Búrfell Hydropower Station

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The site

As many as 150 employees were involved in the work carried out on-site during the second half of 2016 and 200 employees are expected to be on-site by the end of 2017. The main contractors are ÍAV-Marti (construction work), DSD Noell (penstock and gates) and Andritz Hydro (electromechanical equipment).

The facilities provided for the contractors are quite extensive, including on-site work camps, offices, a concrete supply station, workshops and other facilities necessary for such a large-scale project. Landsvirkjun also built work camps for their own employees and for the construction supervisors from Mannvit engineering.

Landsvirkjun is committed to following a zero accident policy in all its projects and safety has been at the forefront of construction work since the project began.

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Construction work on the expansion at Búrfell has progressed successfully. Underground excavation was extensive this year and the power station will barely be visible at the surface. The photograph shows the powerhouse cavern. 

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Status of the project

Most underground excavation work was completed by the end of 2016. Approximately 70% of the estimated excavation work for the headrace canal has been completed. Drilling work has been completed on the cable tunnel and penstock (each 100 metres in length). The access and tailrace tunnels have reached full length, a combined length of 650 metres. Excavation work will continue on the tailrace canal.

Installation work on penstock, gates, mechanical and electrical equipment will be carried out in the beginning of 2017 and will continue until the station becomes operational.

The project is mostly on schedule but there is continued pressure to complete the project on time due to the tight timeframe. The station is expected to begin operations at the end of May 2018, when finishing work and landscaping work will then take over.