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The leading renewable energy capital in the world
Renewable Energy in Reykjavik
Reykjavik, Iceland, has pioneered the use of geothermal power for citywide district heating. Reykjavik meets nearly all of its electricity and heating needs from renewable resources (predominately from geothermal and hydroelectric sources).
Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, is a relatively small city. Roughly 1/3 of the population of Iceland live in Reykjavik municipality itself (population ~344,000 as of 2021), while a bit less than 2/3 of the population of Iceland live in the Greater Capital Region of the country (the 6 municipalities around, and including, Reykjavik).
Iceland is the leading nation worldwide in geothermal energy (when based on per capita capacity). A few large geothermal power plants provide most of the Reykjavik area population's and buildings' heating and hot water needs. For Reykjavik's buildings, roughly 95% of heating is provided by geothermal district heating.
Please also see: Green City Solutions: Reykjavik, Iceland
The Reykjavik Municipal Plan 2010-2030
Iceland's renewable energy production has nearly made the country energy independent with respect to heating and electricity generation. Geothermal energy and hydroelectricity already run Reykjavik's economy, but the government states that both energy sources have much more productive capacity to tap into. Reykjavik's Municipal Plan focuses on:
- renewable energy
- energy efficiency
- green building
- district heating
- densifying Reykjavík’s urban environment
- developing sustainable public transit systems
- reducing pollution
- preserving green spaces (Roughly 9 out of 10 residents of Reykjavik already live a five-minute walk away from a public green space.)
The Reykjavik Municipal Plan 2010-2030 includes a Sustainable Planning Policy, a plan to maintain Reykjavik as an internationally leading green city, details for the Planning of City Districts, a Neighborhood Plan, and an Environmental Impact Assessment.
Implementation of a climate action plan to reduce GHGs citywide, and strategies for further development of renewable energy, energy efficiency, green building, and sustainable public transit, are also in Reykjavik’s Municipal Plan. Reykjavik has had a net zero (carbon neutrality) by 2040 goal since 2016, and Reykjavik also aims to be completely fossil fuel-free by 2050. The City of Reykjavik is cutting the number of gas stations by 1/2, in an effort to move away from conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles and towards electric vehicles.
The Icelandic capital of Reykjavik is aiming to become carbon neutral by 2040 by imposing strict limits on urban sprawl and improving the efficiency of public transport, according to [the Reykjavik City Municipal Plan] unveiled by the city’s mayor.
The plan includes several measures to achieve the target, with promises to mandate the green emphasis in all of the city’s operations. For example, one goal is to ensure all vehicles in the City of Reykjavik are powered by green energy by 2040, including both public and private transportation.
The city’s public transport system stands in line for significant restructuring in order to increase the number of people using it to 12 percent from four percent by 2030. - quote from - reuters.com/iceland-capital-carbon/reykjavik-unveils-plan-to-become-carbon-neutral-by-2040
Reykjavik as a Global Leader in RE |
Iceland is home to glaciers, glacial rivers, volcanoes (mostly dormant, and some active), hot springs, geysers, and underwater volcanoes. This region of the mid-Atlantic ridge has frequent active seismic activity to this day. This does present Reykjavik with unique opportunities to create renewable energy from the abundant natural geothermal and hydroelectric resources on and surrounding Iceland.
Reykjavik is a global center for renewable energy research; as universities, governments, as well as private and public companies, all contribute. Government-sponsored programs help fund new renewable energy projects in Reykjavik. Additionally, private initiatives like The GREEN Program and Iceland School of Energy at Reykjavik University, provide research, development, and education of renewable energy technologies, and sustainable city practices.
Reykjavik has become one of the first major world cities to use renewable energy for the vast majority of the city's heating and electricity. Other cities (these are featured cities in Green City Times) that are trying to go 100% renewable (100RE) include - San Diego, California, Copenhagen, Denmark, which aims to be carbon neutral by 2025, Oslo, Norway, Vancouver, Canada, Freiburg, Germany, and Vaxjo, Sweden. Additionally, over 100 cities throughout the world are within range of becoming 100RE in the not too distant future.
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