ARENA 2020 Explores How Iceland’s Renewable Energy Permeates the Entire Society

ARENA 2020 Explores How Iceland’s Renewable Energy Permeates the Entire Society

Iceland is a model country for its use of renewable energy sources. Geothermal and hydropower resources provide more than 80% of the country's primary energy. Only the transport sector (cars, the fishing fleet and airplanes) use fossil fuels.

Did you know that Iceland also has the highest energy use per capita in the world (730 gigajoules per capita in 2017)?

Geothermal provides more than 60% of this energy, through electrical power plants and various direct-use applications like space heating, greenhouses, swimming pools, spas, drying and fish farming.

Iceland will host the third and final on-site visit in the 2020 Arctic Remote Energy Networks Academy program. ARENA participants will learn about the social and economic advantages of renewable energy sources through lectures, hands-on tutorials, and site visits showing various uses of geothermal energy, all while enjoying Iceland’s spectacular nature.

The program will emphasize small-scale geothermal and micro power plants that can be used in various Arctic locations. The training is based on the more than 40 years experience of the United Nations University Geothermal Training Programme (now GRÓ GTP under the auspices of UNESCO), through which more than 700 scientists and engineers from 63 countries have received six-month training in Iceland.

ARENA is a unique circumpolar knowledge-sharing program focusing on isolated power systems integration. The program is held in partnership with Canada, Gwich'in Council International, the United States and Iceland. It's endorsed by the Sustainable Development Working Group of the Arctic Council and will consist of three site visits in 2020: Canada (May 24-June 1), Alaska (July 11-19) and Iceland (early November). Each site visit will highlight local energy projects and renewable integration.


2017 ARENA participants watch as fish are moved from drying screens at the Haustak geothermal drying facility on the Reykjanes Peninsula in Iceland. Photo by Amanda Byrd.