Iceland is flush with green energy. Does it want to be Europe’s battery?

By Francisco "A.J." Camacho | 06/26/2024 06:32 AM EDT

The island nation has the potential to produce enough offshore wind energy to power 1.7 billion Icelandic homes. Fewer than 400,000 people live there.

Iceland's two turbines at Landsvirkjun's Hafið Wind Farm.

Iceland's two turbines at Landsvirkjun's Hafið Wind Farm won't stand alone for long. Landsvirkjun

REYKJAVÍK, Iceland — Iceland boasts a rare luxury for the modern world. It has green energy in spades and access to plenty more. And that untapped bounty has drawn the notice of power-hungry developers at home and abroad.

Iceland already generates more electricity per person than any other country — and nearly double that of runner-up Norway — thanks to geothermal energy and hydroelectricity. Power production is expected to increase too as climate change heats the planet and melting glaciers flood Iceland’s hydroelectric system with more water.

Then there’s wind power. The North Atlantic nation sits about 500 miles northwest of the United Kingdom in an area that has enormous potential for wind energy. One report estimated that Iceland could produce about 847 gigawatts of wind power from offshore turbines alone, enough to power 1.7 billion Icelandic homes.


The well of power has attracted the attention of suitors both foreign and domestic. Developers have filed applications for 11 inland wind projects with the Icelandic parliament’s Master Plan, which vets them for “nature protection and energy utilization.” Six of them are wholly or partly owned by foreign firms.