Búrfell Hydropower Station II began operations in June, after only two years of construction. An official opening ceremony was held and attended by the President of Iceland, Mr. Gudni Th. Johannesson, who laid the cornerstone of the station. The 100 MW hydropower station is Landsvirkjun's 18th power station.
The station was constructed underground in Sámsstaðaklif, just two kilometres away from the original Búrfell station, which was the first power station to be constructed by Landsvirkjun half a century ago.
The commissioning ceremony on the 28th of June, 2018: From the left: Gunnar Guðni Tómasson, Executive Director of the Project Planning & Construction Division, Hörður Arnarson, CEO, Ásbjörg Kristinsdóttir, Chief Project Manager, Jónas Þór Guðmundsson, Chairman of the Board, Ragna Árnadóttir, Deputy CEO and Bjarni Benediktsson, Minister of Finance.
Maximum utilisation and increased flexibility
Global warming has increased the flow in glacial rivers and the Búrfell Hydropower Station was no longer able to fully utilise the flow from the Þjórsá catchment area.
An estimated 410 GWh flowed past the station each year. The construction of Búrfell Hydropower Station II resulted in the utilisation of 300 GWh of this previously lost energy each year. The flow is expected to increase further and the station was designed with this in mind. An extra turbine can be added to ensure maximum utilisation of the resource.
The expansion offers increased flexibility in operations and the option of carrying out maintenance work at the current station without significant reductions to the energy supply. This is in keeping with Landsvirkjun’s role, which is to maximise the potential yield and value of the natural resources it has been entrusted with, in a sustainable, responsible and efficient manner
Búrfell II - construction 2018
Extensive construction projects this year
Verkís was responsible for the design of the station and the conglomerate of Íslenskir Aðalverktakar, Marti Contractors and Marti Tunnelbau were responsible for construction.
Landsvirkjun was responsible for on-site project supervision, but Mannvit supervised construction work. Andritz Hydro produced the mechanical and electrical equipment and DSD-NOELL supplied the penstock and gate equipment.
As many as 240 employees from 20 different countries were involved in the work carried out on-site during the peak period of construction between 2016 and 2018.
Icelanders represent approx. 40% of the work force that has been involved in work on-site since construction began. Other nationalities include Lithuania, Portugal, Poland, Slovakia, Austria and Germany. The main contractors were ÍAV-Marti (construction work), DSD Noell (penstock and gates), Andritz Hydro (electromechanical equipment), Efacec (transformers) and LS Cable (cables).
Timeline of construction at Búrfell II
Safety and the environment at the forefront of construction
Landsvirkjun is committed to following a zero accident policy in all its projects and safety has been at the forefront of construction work since the project began.
All employees attended safety and environment courses held by Landsvirkjun's health and safety and environmental representative on-site.
The environmental policy of the project was to minimise disruption to the environment and to monitor Landsvirkjun’s environmental footprint at the construction site. The area had been previously disturbed as a result of construction work on the original Búrfell Hydropower Station.
All structures, including the intake structure, are already part of Búrfell Hydropower Station I, as well as the road accessing the construction site. The entire site, including the work camps, concrete mixing station and workshops were also used for the construction of the original station. Tailrace canals had mostly already been excavated and the extracted materials were relocated to areas alongside the canal.
Valuable mineral materials such as soil and herb layers were reused and waste from the cafeteria, workshops and offices were sorted. Great care was taken to ensure that natural birch forests, settlement forests and cultural heritage sites remained undisturbed by demarcating the areas and receiving the necessary consultation.
Finishing work on site
The last phase of finishing work has been ongoing since operations began.
This work has now mostly been completed, but work will continue on land reclamation and environmental monitoring in the area, alongside operations. Work will also be completed on construction and work camp areas.
The aim is to return the site to a similar previous condition, prior to construction. Landsvirkjun takes pride in building stations in harmony with the landscape.
Further information on implementation and the main parameters of Búrfell Station II
An overview of a work camp area, taken on September 5, 2018: Offices, canteens and dormitories. Healthcare was provided and nurses were on duty every day of the week during construction. Over 240 employees worked on site.