The idea of Icelandic volcanoes powering British households sounds like a pipe dream – but it’s looking increasingly likely to actually happen, reports Sky News. The ambitious project, dubbed Atlantic SuperConnection, has now been backed by a multi-million pound investment from French investment company Meridiam.
The venture would cost an estimated £3.5 billion and could begin supplying energy to British homes by 2022, via a 1000-mile cable under the ocean. Iceland produces more energy than it needs, with geothermal and hydroelectric power dominating. The country is famous for a natural landscape that features hot springs, waterfalls, volcanoes, lava fields and glaciers. The National Power Company of Iceland told Iceland Monitor that the pipeline would “deliver a volume of over five terawatt hours’ flexible renewable electricity per annum, enough to power 1.6 million homes”. It said that the cost to the UK “will be competitive with other domestic low-carbon alternatives.”
Icelanders are not united on the pipeline’s benefits, however. In a recent poll, two-thirds opposed the plans, with some concerned that a new power station would need to be built to supply the energy. That potential environmental impact is a key concern in Iceland, where the economic rewards of activities like aluminium smelting and mass tourism are weighed against the balance of a fragile landscape.