Iceland's state-run energy company, Landsvirkjun, is considering manufacturing the world's longest sub-sea electric cable so it can bring its abundance of geothermal energy to interested parties in Europe.
Exploring the viability of submarine cables to transmit energy is not a novel idea. Back in 2002, Landsvirkjun commissioned feasibility studieson whether or not the submerged cables could be used. The studies were underway in 2010, and Landsvirkjun's then managing director,Hördur Arnarson was quick to point out that research had been underway since the 1980's, with feasability being acknowledged as early as 1995.
Now, in 2011 the company is looking to send its geothermal energy overseas in the near future. Or is that underseas?
"This project started last year and the current phase of research should be finished by the end of the year... We will (then) have clearer information about the feasibility of the project," Landsvirkjun spokeswoman Ragna Sara Jonsdottir told AFP, adding that a final decision on the project would likely come within four to five years.
If completed -- and depending on the destination -- the cables could reach lengths between 1,200 and 1,900 kilometers (745-1,180 miles). The project aims to export some five terawatt hours per year -- enough to cover the annual consumption of about 1.25 million European households.
The exporting would also mean big money for economically deprived Iceland as well. Estimates suggest 250-340 million euros could be pumped into the economy. What's not being said, however, is how expensive the implementing and maintaining the sub-sea cable project would be.
Countries who have expressed interest already are Britain, Netherlands, Germany, and Norway.
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