Responsible Management and Production at Low-Temperature Fields

Veitur Utilities operates thirteen district heating systems. The largest one is in the capital area, five are in West Iceland, and seven in South Iceland, please see appendix. These utilities provide space heating and hot water services to 2/3 of the country’s population. In 2022, Veitur Utilities' production in low-temperature geothermal fields in the capital area and in distribution areas in South and West Iceland were in accordance with the company’s policy and objectives, and the statutory and regulatory framework.

Responsible consumption of hot water

Veitur’ s Heating Utility raised a massive awareness in the fall 2022 when attention was drawn to the fact that hot water for domestic heating is not an inexhaustible natural resource. People now realize better than before, that geothermal heat needs to be prioritized in favour of central heating for the quality of life in Iceland. During the cold season, Veitur Utilities have encouraged people not to heat their homes unnecessarily and to keep windows closed.

The Capital area

During summer 2022, hot water from geothermal power plants was temporarily supplied to the entire capital area from June to September. This water exchange lasted for a longer time than has been done before. Consequently, the production in the low-temperature fields at Reykir, Reykjahlíð, Laugarnes and Elliðaárdalur, was eased, leading to increased winter reserves in those areas, please see chapter on innovation of climate and environmental issues.

This hot water exchange and summer rest in low temperature fields in the capital area will be continued. It will change the operating system of the heat supply and the heat production of power plants towards a more sustainable manner.

Prolonged frosts period broke out in December 2022, which increased the load on the heating supply. There was a historic peak in heating demand during this extreme cold. The pumping capacity at Reynisvatnheiði was increased and the temperature of the heated groundwater from ON Power’s geothermal power plants was temporarily raise. Preparations are being made to expand pumps in high performance wells in the low-temperature fields and to increase the maximum production capacity when the load on the heating supply is at its maximum. In 2022 a comprehensive review was finished on for future plans of the district heating systems in the Capital area in order to meet predicted future demand. Increased heat production in the Hellisheiði Geothermal Power Pland is an option as well as the planned HS-Orka power plant in Krýsuvík and new low-temperature fields in the Capital area.

Since 2018, research has been carried out on integration of the Reykjavik capital region's heating utility system, so that it is possible to mix geothermal water from low-temperature fields with heated groundwater from geothermal power plants without the formation of scaling. The results are promising and have already been used for water exchange and summer rest in low temperature fields in the capital area, please see above. It will completely change the operating system of the heat supply and the heat production of power plants towards a more sustainable manner. The research is scheduled to be completed in 2024.


One of Veitur Utilities' low-temperature wells in Reykjavik.

West Iceland

The situation in the low-temperature district heating areas in Western Iceland is generally good. Although increased demand at Akranes and Borgarfjörður district heating (HAB) has exhausted all extra capacity in the system. A new production well at Hellur in Bæjarsveit will soon be drilled to provide additional power to improve the situation.

Due to the peak hot water demand during the frost period in December, Veitur’s hot water utility had to cut hot water to the swimming pools in Akranes and Borgarnes municipalities. A review of plans for the future of HAB is completed to ensure security of supply for decades to come. The aim is to look for hot water reserves closer to the urban areas, but also to look for reserves in Bæjarsveit and Kleppjárnsreykir rural areas.

South Iceland

In South Iceland, production capacity was increased in Grímsnesveita Heating Utility.

More hot water is needed for Rangárveita district heating. Early 2023, pumping capacity will be increased with a new deep pump in Laugaland to increase the peak power significantly for the areas where the demand is the highest. Further projects are being prepared, for example improving the hot water flow capacity from Kaldárholt to Laugaland and searching for hot water reserves

Due to high demand during the cold season in December, Veitur Utilities had to cut hot water to the swimming pools in Laugaland, Hella and Hvolsvöllur.