Iceland to export red hot volcano power to Europe

The downside of living on a volcano is that you're living on a volcano. The upside of living on a volcano is that you can suck enough energy directly out of the ground to power your entire country, with enough left over to sell to Europe for a tidy profit. Welcome to Iceland.

Iceland is busy getting torn apart as the North American and Eurasian plates move away from each other, but until the entire country splits in half, this sexy geologic action ensures steady volcanic activity in the area. This sort of sounds like a bad thing, and in some ways it is, but a major perk of living above a volcanic hot spot is that you can tap into that energy and turn it into a virtually limitless source of power.

Already, a staggering 85% of Iceland's homes are heated with clean and renewable geothermal power, and there's no end in sight, considering that Iceland has over 200 volcanoes, 600 hot springs, and 20 steam fields ripe for harvesting. Landsvirkjun, Iceland's primary power company, has started work on what will eventually be the world's longest undersea electric cable to export energy to Europe.

When (and if) it's finished, the cable will stretch between 800 and 1,100 miles, depending on where in Europe it lands. It will be capable of transmitting five billion killowatt-hours of electricity annually, which is enough to power 1.25 million homes and will potentially net Iceland half a billion dollars. This would be a good thing, as Iceland's economy has recently undergone a forced transition from finance to, um, fishing.

AFP, via Fast Company

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