Reclamation of the Elliðaárdalur Valley

Promotes UN‘s
Sustainable Development Goals
Quality Education Life on land

Since the wooden penstock pipe, renewed in 1978, of the one-century-old power station at Elliðaár broke, in 2014, it was doubtful whether electricity generation would resume there. The pipe was declared useless, its renewal expensive and the generating capacity of the power station small. Thus, in 2020, a formal decision was made not to discontinue electricity generation in the station for the foreseeable future. Instead, efforts were started to regenerate the site as a history and technology experience at Reykjavík Energy's premises in the valley.


The most significant structures of the Power Station at Elliðaár are undergoing renewal under the name Elliðaárstöð. There is a new experience on the way in Elliðaárdal where children and adults learn about history and science in live play. Much has already been built up and the area reshaped to serve a new role. In the year 2022, a number of groups visited Elliðaárstöð for education, health benefits and experiences, and several prominent events were held in collaboration with Elliðaárstöð during the year. There were around 2,000 visitors at 50 events.


At the beginning of 2019, Reykjavík Energy held a competition for the concept of a history and technology exhibition on the power station site to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Elliðaár power station. The design team Terta won the competition and construction began in October 2020.

Restoration of natural qualities in Elliðaárdalur

This is the name of a project that was launched within Orkuveita Reykjavíkur in 2021 and in late 2022 it was reshaped and is now a joint project of OR and the Reykjavík City Environment and Planning Department.

The aim of the project is, on the part of OR, to get the mandatory decommissioning plan for the Power Station approved and on the part of the City of Reykjavík to have the plan reflected in the regional planning of the valley. Emphasis is placed on strong information provision in the project, but mistakes were made by OR when permanently emptying the Árbær reservoir in the fall of 2020.

Under the banner of the project, a variety of data has been collected on the effects of emptying the reservoir and on the power plant structures in the valley, not least the Árbær dam.

The salmon's great success

The Árbær Reservoir had been filled and emptied alternately in autumn and spring until it was permanently emptied in 2020. Research into the ecosystem since then strongly suggests that the action to stop creating such instability in the river's ecosystem has already benefited salmon in the river. In the fall of 2022, progress reports were published on both salmon and waterfowl and strongly testified to this. In 2022, the results of the reclamation of the previous reservoir bottom became ever more apparent, which can be seen in the pictures below. There, methods developed by ON Power's reclamation expert were employed to restore local vegetation.

lónbotn Árbæjarlóns

The former bottom of the Árbær reservoir in the autumn of 2020 and 2022.