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PM on Power to UK: Jobs and Prices Essential

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PM on Power to UK: Jobs and Prices Essential

Sigmundur Davið Gunnlaugsson and David Cameron outside the Icelandic Parliament

PM of Iceland Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson and PM of Britain David Cameron outside Iceland’s parliament on Wednesday. Photo: Geir Ólafsson.

Prime Minister of Iceland Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson said in an interview with Iceland Review Online at the Northern Future Forum yesterday that he welcomes the possibility of connecting Iceland’s energy grid with Britain’s via a submarine cable but expressed the importance of avoiding energy price increases and ensuring job creation in Iceland.

“We don’t want to take any chances in this regard ... in particular the prices for households, and regarding the potential for new investment, new jobs in Iceland and the utilization of renewable energy in Iceland. However, I’ve always favored looking into things, finding facts, getting a better picture of what we’re dealing with,” he said. “It’s a question of weighing these different options and comparing them and obviously it is very important to us here in Iceland that we are in a position to offer households electricity at reasonable prices, but we also need to be able to create new jobs around the country, not least in areas outside the capital region, and people in Iceland would not be happy with us exporting energy if, at the same time, we were not using opportunities for creating jobs here.”

Wednesday evening, Sigmundur Davíð and British PM David Cameron agreed to form a task force to look into the possibility of connecting Iceland’s energy grid with Britain’s via a submarine cable. The UK-Iceland Energy Task Force will examine the feasibility of laying such a cable and report back within six months. Such a project would take 7-10 years to complete.

Sigmundur Davíð noted that the task force will supplement ongoing work on behalf of the government and the ministry of industries.

There are significant concerns about the project in Iceland, including price increases and environmental destruction. Sigmundur Davíð said the project would only get his approval if Iceland got assurances it would not affect electricity prices to homes and businesses here.

A cooperation agreement was signed between Iceland and the UK regarding energy issues three years ago.

The prime ministers of Iceland, Britain, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Estonia, Latvia and the vice foreign minister of Lithuania convened at the forum in Reykjavík yesterday to discuss creative industries and innovation in public management.

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