The aluminium plant in Straumsvík is run by Rio Tinto, one of three such plants in Iceland. The company is the largest electricity user in Iceland.

Dream of a stream

Icelanders use the most electricity per capita or 56,828 kWh (kilowatt-hours) per person. Next in line are Norwegians with 26,492 kWh per person; third is Bahrain with 17,133 kWh per person. The three countries that share the last place are Afghanistan, Benin and Chad, with 30 kWh per capita, 1894 times less per capita than ours. Chad is an oil-rich country, but 90% of its population does not have access to electricity. In fact, one in ten people on earth, or 760 million people, don’t have access to electricity. That’s more than the whole population of Europe, which is 748 million. Only five countries in the world get all their electricity from renewable energy sources; Albania, Bhutan, Lesotho, Nepal and Paraguay. Iceland does not reach 100% because the fishmeal factory still has to produce electricity with diesel engines at the height of the season. Eighty per cent of the world’s electricity production today comes from burning coal, oil and gas.

The power station at Elliðaár in the middle of Reykjavík was opened in 1921


Reykjavík – Hafnarfjörður 22/01/2022 &  08/01/2022 09:38 / 14:47 : A7C – A7R III : FE 1.4/24mm GM / FE 2.8/100mm GM

Photographs and text: Páll Stefánsson