IPHE Steering Committee Meeting in Reykjavik, 26. September 2006.
Honoured members of the Steering Committee of the International Partnership for the Hydrogen Economy
Honoured foreign guests
Welcome to Iceland, and to our beloved capital, Reykjavík.
We are honoured by your presence here at this time. The development of the Hydrogen Economy is met and followed in Iceland with enthusiasm, by the authorities, entreprises, municipalities and by the general public.
In Iceland we have pursued an ambitious programme in energy policies over a long period of time. In this country we have an abundance of renewable energy sources, for heating of houses and for electricity production.
For more than forty years we have strived to transform natural resources into productive fountains of usable energy.
As of now, almost 90% of the population of Iceland have access to geothermal house heating. The remaining 10% use electricity to heat their houses and appartments. In a few years time more than 80 % of electricity production will go to industry use in large plants.
The power situation in Iceland is unique, as over 70% of all energy consumption in the country comes from renewable clean sources. 30% comes from fossil fuels, mostly used in transport vessels, automobiles, and aeroplanes.
In the near future we plan to decrease still further the use of fossil fuels, because of economic and environmental concerns.
An important part of this policy is the use of hydrogen, produced from electricity. Also, we will, of course, consider direct uses of electricity for cars, that is when this alternative becomes economically feasible on a large scale.
One further possibility is the use of bio-fuels, which may become profitable in cars and other transport vessels through constantly increased prices of oil. The use of hybrid-cars is still another alternative being considered for the future. Of course hydrogen powered hybrides may become the ultimate solution for the clean transport in our country.
The government of Iceland actively supports research and development which lead up to these above mentioned goals. We have, obviously, not the means or the strenght ourselves to keep up ambitious theoretical research or applied research or the development and testing of engines and equipment.
But on the other hand, Iceland is an island with highly developed transport facilities and infrastructure and therefore it may become an ideal setting for every kind of trial running in a real environment, and on a realistic scale.
Then I am thinking of testing grounds for cars, busses, etc.
An active supportive policy on behalf of the Government of Iceland was defined and decided upon in 1998. It was decided that no import duties on hydrogen vehicles are required for such vehicles imported to Iceland.
Now, at this time in the autumn of 2006 the Government has again, quite recently, decided to go on and continue its participation and active support for the next years.
Honoured participants, steering committee and guests
Iceland has been a member of the International Partnership for the Hydrogen Economy since it´s establishment in 2003. As a country leading the utilization of renewable energy we also want to be among those who lead the way regarding renewable fuels.
Cooperation with the international community in the field of hydrogen is an important task and we wish to continue to provide a platform for testing for the hydrogen economy.
I sincerely hope that this meeting and the attached social events will be informative, fruitful and enjoyable, and that it will give stimulus and energy to Your most important ventures.
The Icelanders will continue to support and to follow with interest and enthusiasm the development of the hydrogen economy.