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The Þeistareykir area has tremendous geothermal energy generation potential with an estimated capacity of approx. 200 MW.

The construction of the Þeistareykir Power Station has been ongoing for two years and will be developed in two 45 MW phases. The first phase is expected to begin operations in the fourth quarter of 2017 and the second phase in the spring of 2018. The design and plans for the power station are focused on creating an efficient, reliable power station that respects the environment.

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The most extensive year of development so far

Construction on-site continued throughout 2016. The main construction projects included the continued construction of the powerhouse and installation of the steam supply system, as well as drilling work which began in the spring. Work was carried out on the design and manufacture of electrical and mechanical equipment, parts of which arrived on-site at the end of the year. There were 240 employees working on-site at the peak of construction which marks the most extensive year of on-site construction work, so far.

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Þeistareykir

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7400 m3 of concrete used to construct the powerhouse

Work continued on the construction of the powerhouse in 2016, including large-scale projects such as concrete work on the turbine halls and outdoor cladding as well as work on the ventilation system, electrics and plumbing. Construction on the powerhouse is expected to reach completion in the first quarter of 2017.

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Total length of steam pipeline approx. 6 km

Metal welding work was carried out at the beginning of 2016. The welding work was completed in Húsavík and the welded pipes were then transported to the site. Improved weather conditions in the spring meant that work could go ahead on laying and insulating pipelines as well as installing other equipment. Ongoing favourable weather conditions allowed work to continue until the Christmas period. A milestone was reached on the 20th of December when the first phase of the steam supply system was pressure tested and began operations. Work on the steam supply system is expected to reach completion in the autumn of 2017.

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280–330°C wells

An agreement was signed with IDC at the beginning of 2016 for drilling work on anything up to 10 production wells. Drilling began at the end of April. Four wells were drilled and well testing has begun on two of these to evaluate their performance; the results are so far promising. Drilling will continue in 2017 to supply steam for the second phase of the project.

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Turbines from Japan to Þeistareykir

Work continued on the design and manufacture of mechanical equipment throughout the year. Work began on the installation of the first cooling tower in May and was completed by October. A major milestone was reached when the first machine set arrived in Iceland which consists of a generator, turbine and condenser, as well as other smaller equipment. The machine set was transported to Þeistareykir in December and the total weight of the equipment was 197 tonnes (220 tonnes including the towing equipment). This is one of the heaviest loads carried on Iceland’s road network. Installation work commenced in early 2017.

Video of the transport project

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Icelandic electrical solutions and labour

Work on the design of the control system began in early 2016 and was carried out by ABB contractors. The year was mostly spent on the design and programming of equipment which was then tested at the end of the year in Akureyri. The control system was tested extensively and every attempt was made to simulate actual, on-site operations.

Work on the design of the station’s infrastructure, i.e. electrical equipment began at the beginning of 2016 and was carried out by Rafeyri contractors. Work continued on the design and manufacture of mechanical equipment throughout the year including 11 kV distribution panels and 400 V electrical cabinets. Developers began preparation work on-site in the autumn and equipment was delivered to the site in December. The equipment will be connected in the first part of 2017.

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Designers and contractors

The partnership between Mannvit and Verkís is responsible for design and consultation work on the Þeistareykir project and they are assisted by Tark Architects, Landslag and Johann Indriðason Engineers.

Various contractors were involved in the project:

  • LNS Saga and LNS A/S (now Munck Íslandi) – Construction of the powerhouse and steam supply
  • IDC – Well drilling
  • Fuji Electric/Balcke-Dürr – Manufacture and installation of mechanical and cold end equipment
  • ABB – Manufacture and installation of control system
  • Tamini– Manufacture of transformers
  • Rafeyri – Electrical equipment
  • Vélsmiðjan Héðinn – Manufacture of separators
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An emphasis on safety

Safety is a priority at Landsvirkjun, both in the operation of its facilities and in the construction of new power stations. Landsvirkjun's policy is to achieve an accident-free operation as well as a positive work environment. Landsvirkjun works according to a so-called zero-accident policy, the basis of which is to develop a safety culture amongst employees to actively prevent accidents. An effective zero-accident policy is achieved by employee involvement in the workplace, adherence to the policy and putting individual safety and the safety of others first.

All new employees attended an HSE induction course this year. The training courses were attended by 343 contractor employees in 2015. The number increased in 2016, when the total number of employees who attended the 92 available courses reached 860 (462 foreign employees and 398 Icelandic). A total of 570 thousand work hours have been completed on the Þeistareykir project since construction on the powerhouse and pipelines began, the vast majority of which has been completed by LNS Saga, the prime contractor for the powerhouse and utilities.

The project has not been without incident and there have unfortunately been accidents on-site, some of which were serious. The most serious accident took place when a steam utility pipe fell onto an employee, breaking his shoulder and collarbone. The incident occurred in April and the employee was off work until the autumn but made a full recovery. Landsvirkjun takes all accidents, near accidents and incidents that occur in the workplace very seriously. We are committed to managing and responding to suggestions and comments relating to safety and environmental issues. The objective is to improve work procedures, creating a safer environment for our employees and to respect the environment.

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Extensive work on environmental matters

The unique nature of the area was taken into consideration during the execution of all preparation and construction work at the Þeistareykir Geothermal Power Station and an emphasis was placed on environmental matters. Regular monitoring has been conducted on environmental aspects since 2012. The objective of regular monitoring is to recognise the baseline for environmental aspects, within the area, before operations begin and to then monitor these aspects during the operational period. The results can be accessed on the project website as well as a number of presentation videos for environmental monitoring in Landsvirkjun’s geothermal areas. The results can also be seen in the Company’s Green Accounts.

Numerous projects relating to the environment were carried out this year. Work continued on land reclamation. A total of approx. 160 hectares of land was re-vegetated to replace the land submerged by the construction of the first phase. Reclamation measures have been underway since 2013 and the Company expects to complete sowing projects in all areas by next summer with the exception of re-fertilisation measures. Approximately 138 tonnes of fertiliser and approx. 9 tonnes of seed have been distributed so far during the project and approx. 126 thousand plants have been planted. Landsvirkjun places an emphasis on the responsible execution of the project and respect for the project area during construction. This includes the closure of material extraction mines as the project continues. Only active material extraction sites remain open.

Landsvirkjun ensures that all contractors involved in the project area comply with the Company's environmental policy and that they operate in accordance with the relevant licenses and project requirements. Landsvirkjun’s Environmental Policy offers a framework of the requirements that the Company has outlined internally and externally. These requirements are supplied during the tendering process and are therefore a part of the contract between Landsvirkjun and the particular contractor.

Landsvirkjun has a cooperation agreement on environmental monitoring with the Environmental Agency who regularly visits the area and monitors the progress of work and finishing work after the completion of construction.

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A conversation with society

Many measures were taken in 2016 to inform the public about the project and its progress. A promotional video for environmental monitoring was released in January, a newsletter was published in March and an information pamphlet on the project was released in July and made available on the Company website. An open house was held in early July and the cornerstone was laid for the station in September. The progress of the project was also updated on the project website and a number of interested parties visited us on-site. Numerous smaller meetings were held with the various stakeholders in the area. The emphasis on dialogue and consultation will continue.

The Þeistareykir project website

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Open house

An open house was held at Þeistareykir on the 3rd of July and up to 300 guests attended. Visitors were invited to view the station and site and a brief presentation was given on the status of the project as well as a tour of the area. Guests were offered refreshments and an opportunity to chat with staff about the project. Landsvirkjun plans to hold another open house in 2017. We would like to thank all those who attended and welcome them to visit us next summer.

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Cornerstone laid at the powerhouse

The President of Iceland, Mr. Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, laid the cornerstone on the 23rd of September at the Þeistareykir Geothermal Power Station. A large crowd attended the ceremony which took place in the powerhouse. The President, Mr. Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, Jonas Thor Gudmundsson, Chairman of the Board at Landsvirkjun, Hörður Arnarson, CEO of Landsvirkjun, Bjarni Benediktsson, Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs and Valur Knútsson, the Project Manager at the Þeistareykir Geothermal Power Station all addressed the audience. Hildur Ríkharðsdóttir, Project Manager and Einar Erlingsson, Site Engineer helped the president lay the cornerstone.