Icelandic geothermal office opened in California

The Icelandic President, Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, joined officials from the state of California and the city of Los Angeles to open the new headquarters of the Iceland America Energy company. The company is expected to be a leader for geothermal energy development in California using knowledge and expertise developed from over 70 years of harnessing the earth’s natural energy in Iceland.

Cur Robinson is the executive director of a non profit scientific and educational group based in California known as the Geothermal Resources Council. “It’s really kind of unusual when you have this small country that?s coming in and helping the United States develop this resource,” he said. “But they’ve been using geothermal in applied ways for several decades, very successfully. . . they have a fully developed energy economy and we don’t.”

The state of California is working towards using renewable energy for 20 per cent of its total energy needs by 2010 and it has chosen a good mentor for reaching that goal. Iceland uses renewable resources to power almost the entire country. Hydropower accounts for 73.4 per cent of the energy generated in Iceland while geothermal energy accounts for 26.5 per cent.

Iceland America Energy has already landed its first contract and will be supplying power to the city of San Francisco once its geothermal plants are built. The first well will be drilled next week to feed power into a facility which will be built near Truckhaven in Imperial County. The plant is expected to open in 2010.