President of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson laid a cornerstone to the new hydropower plant Búðarhálsvirkjun in the south-central highlands on Friday. Landsvirkjun, the national power company, estimates that the plant can start running at the end of 2013.Archive photo of a hydropower plant in Iceland. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.
“Búðarhálsvirkjun will further enable us to work in keeping with Landsvirkjun’s purpose, to maximize the yield of the energy resources the company is entrusted with,” CEO of Landsvirkjun Hörður Arnarson said in a statement, adding that the operations would be carried out with sustainability, rationalization and generating revenue in mind.
Among others who spoke during the ceremony were Minister of Finance and Economics Katrín Júlíusdóttir, chair of Landsvirkjun Bryndís Hlöðversdóttir and task manager of Búðarhálsvirkjun Guðlaugur V. Þórarinsson.
In her speech, Bryndís stressed Landsvirkjun’s importance in Icelandic society, stating that the project has been well organized and successful, mbl.is reports.
“It should also be mentioned in how much unity the construction of Búðarhálsvirkjun has been carried out and thus it has supported Landsvirkjun’s goal in creating increased content with the company’s operations in society,” Bryndís added.
The project began in 2001 but has since been postponed. Constructions resumed in 2010 and are scheduled to conclude next year. Búðarhálsvirkjun is to produce 95 MW of energy with a power-generating capacity of up to 585 GW hours per year.
During the construction period, between 700 and 800 jobs can be created.
Búðarhálsvirkjun will be operated alongside other Landsvirkjun power plants in the Þjórsá and Tungnaá rivers, where there are already six fully-operational plants. With the new plant, the hydropower from Þórisvatn to Sultartangar will be fully used.