Musings, politics and environmental issues

Posts tagged ‘nuclear power’

Green certificates, Iceland and nuclear power

I hereby announce a competition: find a nuclear power station in Iceland. If you can’t do that, a coal mine would do.

In point of fact, Iceland doesn’t produce electricity using nuclear power or coal, as 99.99% is produced by renewable sources – the remaining 0.01% is produced by diesel. But because Iceland is now part of the European internal energy market, it has implemented Directive 2009/28/EC on promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources. Together with regulations from AIB, the Association of Issuing Bodies, this means that other countries can “buy” renewable energy quotas from Iceland to increase their own quota of renewable energy. Icelanders then get the equivalent share of non-renewable energy detailed on their electricity bills once a year, equivalent to the amount of “green certificates” sold. So if not many green certificates are sold in a year, the percentage of nuclear energy, coal and oil-derived electricity is lower than if many certificates are sold.

This situation is ludicrous enough in itself, and I’d call it greenwashing (referring to the counties buying the certificates). But there’s a twist. Iceland prides itself on its “clean” image, especially when it comes to tourism, fish and agricultural products. So it’s not good for the image to have nuclear power effectively listed as an Icelandic energy source. However, ON, Iceland’s energy body that sees to geothermal power plants amongst other things, has come up with a solution for farmers, tourist bodies and other complainants: they can “buy” a clean image for a monetary sum and get in return a certificate saying that all the electricity their concern uses comes from renewable sources.

Totally, utterly absurd.

Environmental films at RIFF film festival

The Reykjavik International Film Festival, commonly known as RIFF, starts on September 26. As usual, it will be a mix of new films from lesser-known directors, music films, documentaries, etc. There are often some excellent films shown. And the good news is that documentaries account for a growing proportion of films shown, and the focus this year is on films on environmental, human rights and quality of life themes. The films that have been confirmed can be found here. Many sound interesting, though I won’t be seeing the American film Pandora’s Promise, which is about the potential of nuclear power to save the world, although admittedly it also tackles opposition to the power source and the nuclear accidents that have occurred! Other films include Greedy Lying Bastards, on the people who deny climate change is due to human behaviour; TPB Ark: The Pirate Bay away from Keyboard, which covers the founders of Pirate Bay; My Afghanistan: Life in the Forbidden Zone, on daily life in Helmand; and the slightly humourous Expedition to the End of the World, about a voyage by a team of Scandinavians to look at the melting icebergs in North Greenland.

That just covers a fraction of the films that will be shown at the festival, which runs till October 6. It looks very promising. Last year, a lot of film screenings got sold out, so it’s best to buy tickets in advance nearer the time.

For those not living in Iceland who happen to be reading this, WOW Air have just announced a special deal for festival-goers from London, Copenhagen, Berlin and Paris. It’s only for 3-4 nights, though.