Home Iceland Power-intensive industry in Iceland

Power-intensive industry in Iceland

Power-intensive industry is an industry which requires high energy in the process, for example products made in aluminium plants. In aluminium plants very much energy is used to create the aluminium which is used in lots of things we use everyday like cars and airplanes. Most of the products are exported to other countries and one of the biggest exports of Iceland is the production of power-intensive industry.

The aluminum plant in StraumsvíkThere are three aluminium plants in Iceland but the fourth is in the planning stages. They are located on Grundartangi, in Straumsvík, in Reyðarfjörður and in Helguvík which is still in planning stages.

halslonMost of the aluminium plants are owned by someone else than Iceland, but we still get some money from it. The aluminium plant located on Grundartangi is owned by the company Norðuráll who is an Icelandic company and they are trying to build a new plant in Helguvík. The constructions on the aluminium plant in Helguvík are still in the planning stages because there's still an argument about whether it needs a new plant. The aluminium plant located in Reyðarfjörður is owned by Alcoa, which is from North America. The reason why it is good to build aluminium plants in Iceland is that we have so much energy, for example energy which comes from all the water power stations that are all over the country.

sigaldaWater Power stations can be divided into two, stations that use the current speed of the sea and stations that use rain and glacial water. In Iceland we use the second option.  To be able to use the water we have to have a reservoir and then the water is dropped down into a station building. The energy that comes from this process is used for make electricity. There are lots of water power stations in Iceland about twenty to thirty, for example we can name Kárahnjúkar which is the largest. Most of the energy that comes from Kárahnjúkar is used in the aluminium plant on Reyðarfjörður. I think a water power station is a great way to use all the water that we have here in Iceland. 

staff_norduralNearly 4,200 people work in the aluminium industry in Iceland. Full-time employees in the aluminium plant at Grundartangi are about 200, and 40 of them have university education. Secondary functions are believed to be about 300, so that a total of 500 people support the operation of aluminium. Alcoa employees are about 450. Almost one third of the workforces are women, the highest rate offered in the Alcoa aluminium plants in the world. Employees are at all ages and have diverse education and experience. About 20% of employees have university degrees, another 20% have vocational training, and 60% with various other qualifications and experience but all employees receive the training and education that their jobs require.

Written by Þórhildur