The Búðarháls Hydropower Station is the newest addition to Iceland’s fleet of hydropower stations. The Station was started up in March, 2014 and will generate approximately 585 GWh of electricity per year for the national grid. The Station has an installed capacity of 95 MW and is in the Þjórsá- and Tungnaá River water catchment area. Búðarháls utilises the 40 metre head in the Tungnaá River, from the tailwater of the Hrauneyjafoss Power Station to the Sultartangi Reservoir. The construction and development of the project was successful and safety and environmental issues pertaining to the project were exemplary.

An emphasis on safety and the responsible handling of the environment

Stringent safety requirements were implemented during the construction and development of the Búðarháls Hydropower Station. Inspectors from Landsvirkjun and the contractors closely supervised the strict implementation of safety issues and the responsible treatment of the environment, on-site. The main contractor began every working day by discussing the day’s projects and emphasising the importance of safety and responsible conduct on-site.

On-site safety and environmental issues have been exemplary at Búðarháls since the project began development. In 2013, there were 37 incidents registered as on-site accidents. Only four of these incidents led to employee absences (a total of 22 days). These employees made a full recovery and returned to work soon afterwards. There have been 10 incidents since construction began resulting in employee absences, but all employees made a full recovery.

The Fire Association in the Árnes Municipality was responsible for regular on-site training and held a large-scale rescue training exercise. Many participants were involved in the exercise including the local search and rescue teams and the Health Care Institution of South Iceland. The exercise focused on fire response and rescue efforts in hazardous conditions.


No environmental incidents

All concrete aggregates were sourced on-site, old quarries were re-used and land disturbance was minimised by channelling the water through a tunnel. Materials extracted from the tunnel were used to landscape the surrounding area and any submerged land was replaced by new re-vegetated land.

The main contractor, Ístak, was exceptional in all matters pertaining to the responsible handling of materials and the surrounding environment on-site. Substantial amounts of waste were produced as a result of the construction and development of the power station site and Ístak was responsible for waste management, i.e. the sorting and collection of these materials. Waste was not allowed to accumulate on-site and was disposed of promptly. All loose materials were immediately covered on-site to prevent construction materials and waste from being blown away off-site. All hazardous substances and substances with warning labels were handled with precaution. Contractors are obliged to account for their use of these substances during construction and are required to carry out risk assessments and familiarise themselves with how to correctly handle such materials.

On-site safety and environmental issues have been exemplary at Búðarháls since the project began development.

There were two supply and service areas for oil. Diesel oil was used for most machinery and equipment and consumption was documented in order to monitor GHG emissions.

A representative from the Health Care Institution of South Iceland made regular visits to the site to monitor the fulfilment of operating permit requirements in the operation of work camps, canteen, workshops and concrete production units. An environmental incident registration system was used but no environmental incidents occurred this year.

Finishing work and landscaping measures will be completed during this summer where needed. The responsible handling of the environment was a key objective during the construction period and disturbance to the surrounding area was kept to a minimum. The clean-up of the area will therefore be relatively easy.

An overview of the total amount of waste from the construction area, the consumption of diesel by contractors and regulators, GHG emissions from fossil fuel consumption and landfill waste can be found in the numerical data section. Information on Landsvirkjun’s employee fuel consumption (on-site) is recorded in Landsvirkjun’s total emissions accounts.