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Climate Issues

Environmental affairs are an important aspect of discussion in the society and Reykjavik Energy’s performance and that of its subsidiaries in this field is therefore important. The goal of Reykjavik Energy is to reduce the carbon footprint of its operations by 60% between 2015 and 2030.

The Reykjavik Energy Group has focused on managing and publishing information about greenhouse gas emissions from its operations, as set out in sections on climate issues. Carbon indicators are published and hopefully they will help to contextualize the organization’s carbon emissions, including in relation to other organizations.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Reykjavik Energy Group

Industry, innovation and infrastructure Climate action Affordable and clean energy Promotes UN‘s Sustainable Development Goals

The Reykjavik Energy Group has set itself the target to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from its operations by 60% between 2015 and 2030 by reducing direct emissions from activities such as the reinjection and sequestration of carbon dioxide in rocks and the electrification of the company’s car fleet. There are also plans to reduce emissions through the utilisation of carbon dioxide, see graph. Emission calculations are according to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol – Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard.

The sequestration of carbon dioxide in rocks at the Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plant, which started in mid-2014, is the main driving force behind the reduction in the Group’s carbon footprint. In 2018, the percentage of reinjected carbon dioxide from the Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plant amounted to about 35% of emissions from the plant. In December, the executive board approved measures to offset the carbon emissions from the Group’s car fleet in 2018 through the reclamation of wetlands on behalf of the Wetlands Fund, see graph.

Baseline GHG emissions, mitigation, additional emissions without CarbFix technology etc. 2015-2030

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Unnur Jonsdottir
Unnur Jonsdottir
Occupational health expert

Unnur is a nurse who has worked in the field of occupational health at the Reykjavik Energy Group for six years. One could say that safety awareness is in her blood because her grandfather Thórdur was a government Director of Public Safety. In her work, she performs a variety of tasks, which are all aimed at improving the health and safety of her colleagues, since few things matter more. Unnur dabbles in numerous activities outside work: she travels to exotic countries, cultivates her garden, tends to her four sons and their families, in addition to which she is a passionate shoe collector. However, she’s often in the same shoes.

Climate Change Objectives of the Reykjavik Energy Group

Industry, innovation and infrastructure Climate action Affordable and clean energy Promotes UN‘s Sustainable Development Goals

Reykjavik Energy operates a water utility, hot water utility, electricity utility, sewerage system and fibre optics network for a large portion of the population and has undertaken a mission to reduce the carbon footprint of its utilities, which is a prerequisite for a sustainable society. The Reykjavik Energy Group has set itself the goal to reduce the carbon emissions of its operations by 60% between 2015 and 2030. See more details on Reykjavik Energy’s climate change objectives in the chart and the progress it is making in achieving them in the appendices.

Environment goals 2030

E1 Direct & Indirect GHG Emissions

Industry, innovation and infrastructure Climate action Affordable and clean energy Promotes UN‘s Sustainable Development Goals

In 2018, scope 1, or direct emissions from Reykjavik Energy Group’s core operations, amounted to 43,000 tons of CO₂ equivalents. The emissions are from the geothermal power plants of ON Power, due to the production of electricity and hot water, and the production of geothermal energy to heat homes in the low-temperature fields of Veitur Utilities, which are estimated to be virtually non-existent, from HFC substances in Veitur Utilities’ system and from the car fleet and premises of the Group. Scope 2 - indirect emissions due to the use of electricity and heat in the core operations of the Reykjavik Energy Group, was none as the Group is producing electricity into the national grid and the emissions is already accounted for in Scope 1. Therefore, in order to prevent double counting, no emissions are specified in Scope 2. Scope 3, indirect emissions from waste produced by the core operations of the Group, as well as staff travelling to and from work and air travel, amounted to 1,100 tons of CO₂ equivalents. Greenhouse gas emissions from the Reykjavik Energy Group make up about 1% of total emissions in Iceland based on the total emissions recorded in 2016 (Environment Agency of Iceland, 2018).

Direct & Indirect GHG Emissions 2018

Scope 1 - Direct emissions: Geothermal power plants (ON Power), supply pipeline and distribution system of Veitur Utilities, vehicles

Scope 2 - Indirect emissions: Energy usage i.e. electricity and heating for own use and transmission loss in distribution systems. Included in Scope 1, as accounted for the Group.

Scope 3 - Indirect emissions: Waste, business travel (flights), and staff commuting.

E2 Carbon Intensity

Industry, innovation and infrastructure Climate action Affordable and clean energy Promotes UN‘s Sustainable Development Goals

Carbon intensity is understood as the level of carbon emissions relative to each operating unit, e.g. income, production units, etc. Based on the revenue and size of the premises of the Reykjavik Energy Group, the Group’s carbon intensity has contracted since 2015.

ON Power produces electricity for consumers and hot water, which is sold wholesale to Veitur Utilities. The carbon footprint for each produced unit of electricity and hot water at ON Power has decreased since 2015. Veitur Utilities distributes electricity and hot water to consumers as well as potable water and manages the sewerage system. At Veitur Utilities the carbon footprint from its water, hot water and electricity utilities and from the sewerage system, has decreased since 2015. The carbon footprint left by the fibre optics data transmission of the Reykjavik Fibre Network has been stable since 2015, see table and graph (under button "Carbon footprint") of carbon indicators per medium produced at the Reykjavik Energy Group. Please note that the unit for electricity and hot water is in kWh, cold water is m3, sewerage systems are in per person units and fibre optics data transmission is in gigabytes.

Description Unit 2015 2016 2017 2018
Greenhouse gas emissions (scope 1, 2 og 3) without land use mitigation t of CO2 e per year 72,009 45,012 41,545 44,586
Revenues ISK Billion 40.3 41.4 44.0 46.3
Size of premises Thousand m3 780 780 780 780
Carbon intensity per unit of revenue t of CO2 e per year/ISK billion 1,774 1,150 1,002 963
Carbon intensity per unit of premises t of CO2 e per year/thousand m3 92 61 57 57
Potable water:
Carbon intensity per produced unit of potable water and distribution g CO2 e per year/ m3 11.7 9.5 7.4 7.8
Hot water for space heating:
Carbon intensity per produced unit of hot water from low temperature fields* g CO2 e per year/kWh ~0 ~0 ~0 ~0
Carbon intensity per produced unit of hot water from geothermal power plants g CO2 e per year/kWh 9.8 8.3 7.5 7.4
Carbon intensity of hot water distribution g CO2 e per year/kWh 0,8 0,8 0,7 0,9
Weighted average of carbon intensity for hot water (Veitur Utilities) g CO2 e per year/kWh 4.4 3.6 3.2 3.2
Electricity:
Carbon intensity per produced unit of electricity at power plants** g CO2 e per year/kWh 10.4 8.9 8.1 7.4
Carbon intensity per unit of distributed electricity g CO2 e per year/kWh 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.2
Total carbon intensity per unit of produced electricity (ON Power) and distributed electricity (Veitur Utilities) g CO2 e per year/kWh 11.4 9.9 9.1 8.7
Wastewater systems:
Carbon intensity per population equivalent (p.e) of wastewater systems g CO2 e per year/p.e. 1,041 790 775 998
Data transmission through the fibre network:
Carbon intensity on data transmission through fibre network g CO2 e per year/gigabyte 0,7 0,7 0,7 0,7

*Carbon footprint has been assessed approximately 0 g/kWst.
**According to Iceland Inventory Report, the weighted average of greenhouse gas emissions per kWh of electricity produced by hydro power and geothermal energy in Iceland in 2016 was 9.3 g. For hydroelectric power, greenhouse gas emissions per kWh of electricity amount to 1.5 g and for geothermal energy 30 g.

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Hendrik Tomasson
Hendrik Tomasson
Smart System Development Manager

Hendrik bears an honourable title which basically means that he’s a nerd, who is highly interested in artificial intelligence and the fourth industrial revolution. He intends to take Veitur Utilities into a smart future. His education reflects his interests, since he has a degree in high-tech engineering and a masters in electrical engineering. Hendrik’s family tree is linked to Veitur Utilities; his grandfather was a contractor who made many of the district heating tanks that Veitur Utilities uses today.

E3 Direct and Indirect Energy Consumption

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The Reykjavik Energy Group produces renewable energy, electricity and hot water, from geothermal energy and hydroelectric power and uses itself about 9% of the produced electricity and about 1% of the produced hot water. Fossil fuels, particularly diesel oil, are used directly in connection with the production and operations of Reykjavik Energy Group. In order to reduce the direct use of energy due to transport related to the operations of the Reykjavik Energy Group, a schedule until 2030 has been established to upgrade the car fleet with vehicles that run on climate-friendly fuel as much as possible, see annex. In order to be able to compare the information, the primary energy consumption is expressed in megajoules (MJ), see table.

Direct primary energy use (own use) of the Reykjavik Energy Group Unit 2015 2016 2017 2018
System:
Electricity MJ 52,57,772,000 5,404,789,000 5,626,032,000 5,544,412,000
Hot water* MJ 220,467,000 177,323,000 273,099,000 207,700,000
Transport:
Methane MJ 411,000 563,000 867,000 795,000
Petrol** MJ 940,000 801,000 572,000 4760,00
Diesel oil** MJ 6,393,000 6,738,000 6,524,000 6,113,000
* Primary energy use: Based on utilisation down to 5°C
** Calculation quotients: Based on their lower heat value

The Group’s own use of electricity is solely to produce hot water, the pumping of sewage, hot and cold water, and the operation of premises. Own use of electricity in relation to the size of the premises has generally increased from 2015 and own use of hot water has remained the same. However, the energy consumption per number of employees has decreased. Fossil fuel consumption per employee was lower in 2018 than in 2015, see table. For the information to be comparable, the primary energy consumption is expressed in megajoules (MJ).

Carbon indicators Unit 2015 2016 2017 2018
Electricity (direct primary energy use) MJ 5,257,772,000 5,404,789,000 5,626,032,000 5,544,412,000
Hot water (direct primary energy use)* MJ 220,467,000 177,323,000 273,099,000 207,700,000
Size of premises Thousand m3 780 780 780 780
Employees Number 458 498 509 541
Methane MJ 411,000 563,000 867,000 795,000
Fossil fuel** MJ 7,333,000 7,539,000 7,096,000 6,589,000
Premisses:
Electricity MJ/m3 6,700 6,900 7,200 7,100
Hot water MJ/m3 300 200 400 300
Employees:
Electricity MJ/employee 11.480.000 10.853.000 11.053.000 10.248.000
Hot water MJ/employee 356.000 537.000 384.000
Methane MJ/employee 1.100 1.700 1.500
Fossil fuel MJ/employee 16.000 15.100 13.900 12.200
* Primary energy use: Based on utilisation down to 5°C
** Calculation quotients based on their lower heat value

The Reykjavik Energy Group produces renewable energy, electricity and hot water for district heating, by utilising geothermal energy and hydro power. Part of this energy is used by the Group for its own operations. The main energy source that is used in operations is electricity. Percentage of renewable energy is 99,9% of total energy use. For the information to be comparable, the primary energy use is expressed in mega joule (MJ).

Percentage of direct primary energy use (own use) of the Reykjavik Energy Group 2018

Precentage of of renewable energy of total energy use of the Reykjavik Energy Group 2018

Energy use Unit 2015 2016 2017 2018
Electricity (direct primary energy use)* MJ 5,257,772,000 5,404,789,000 5,626,032,000 5,544,412,000
Hot water (direct primary energy use)* MJ 220,467,000 177,323,000 273,099,000 207,700,000
Methane MJ 411,000 563,000 867,000 795,000
Fossil fuel MJ 7,333,000 7,539,000 7,096,000 6,589,000
Total energy use MJ 5,485,983,000 5,590,214,000 5,907,094,000 5,759,496,000
Percentage of renewable energy of total energy use % 99.9 99.9 99.9 99.9
* Primary energy use is based on utilisation down to 5°C
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Sigridur Gudmundsdottir
Sigridur Gudmundsdottir
Property supervisor

Sigrídur's job entails taking care of the daily management of the premises, communications with contractors who work on maintenance and many other tasks. Sigrídur started her career at the Reykjavik Energy Group in 2002 and has been in property supervision for the past six years. In her free time, Sigrídur often goes to her favourite spot in Borgarfjördur where she has a summer house. There are always plenty of odd jobs that need to be done there, which is where her work experience comes in handy. Sigrídur enjoyed her 15 minutes of fame when a picture of her back appeared in the most read national newspaper.

For every mega joule (MJ) that the Reykjavik Energy Group is using of non-renewable energy, the Group is using 870 mega joules of renewable energy.

Leirhver

Photo: Gretar Ívarsson

Transportation is one of the main sources of greenhouse gas emissions in Iceland, in addition to having a negative effect on the quality of air and noise pollution. Reykjavik Energy and its subsidiaries have set themselves the ambitious climate change objective of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 60% by the year 2030. Because of the nature of their activities they can also have a direct or indirect impact on others’ carbon footprint. ON Power’s development of rapid-charging stations along the national highway and in populated areas has turned electric cars into a viable option for people and businesses. ON Power is at the forefront of developing infrastructure for energy switching in transport in Iceland. A great deal of effort went into its development this year, see graph. At the end of 2018, the fiftieth charging station was opened in Geysir in Haukadalur.

Veitur Utilities, a subsidiary of Reykjavik Energy, is preparing to enable the Internet of Things (IOT) of meters so that it will be possible to have an impact on the usage patterns of charging stations with price management but also by allocating the surplus energy in the system at any given time to the charging station when other usage is low.

The number of electric cars in Iceland and ON Power chargers

The Reykjavik Energy Group has been at the forefront of innovation and development on climate issues over the past decades. Lower carbon dioxide emissions from the Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plant using the CarbFix and SulFix reinjection methods and alternative energy in transport are clear examples of that. Collaboration between the business sector and the academic community is more often than not a precondition to enable an idea to develop into a concrete project that can be useful to the business community.

Incentives, such as government grants to businesses and tax concessions, bolster the development of climate-friendly technology. The experience of Reykjavik Energy shows that grants and tax concessions of this kind act as an incentive for staff and partners to take on innovative projects in this field, both domestically and internationally. Examples of projects of this kind that have been launched and show promise, see below and in appendices:

  • Footprint-free production of geothermal energy
  • Experiment to permanently remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in Hellisheidi:
  • Experiment in the production of hydrogen as an energy source at Hellisheidi
  • The energy switch in transport in Iceland
  • Stimulation of a geothermal well in Geldinganes near Reykjavik