Iceland - Leading the World Towards a 100% Sustainable Energy Society

Iceland is the world's leading nation in utilising renewable energy. Its next aim is to tackle the transport industry. Renewable energy for vehicles and sustainable solutions for transport are the focus of Driving Sustainability '07 Conference ( held in Reykjavik on September 17-18.

Iceland is a global leader in renewable energy with 72% of its total energy consumption from hydro- and geothermal sources. The remainder, mostly fossil fuels, is consumed by the transport and fishing sector. Iceland is now taking the next step by increasing energy efficiency and the share of renewable energy for vehicles. A volcanic island with abundance of renewable energy sources and a small nation with an innovative mindset provides for an exciting case study on how to move towards a 100% sustainable energy society.

The conference will provide an excellent opportunity to network with policy makers and fuel technology experts from around the world. His Excellency, Olafur Ragnar Grimsson President of Iceland, will open the conference. The first keynote will be delivered by the Minister of Finance, whose Ministry is in the process of creating proposals for a new comprehensive taxation framework for fuels and vehicles with the aim of encouraging the use of eco-friendly cars, energy efficiency, and decreasing emissions from transport.

Speakers include Icelandic, American, Swiss, French, Danish and Swedish specialists in pioneering policy and technology for eco-friendly vehicles such as ethanol, biogas, hydrogen, electric cars and plug-in hybrids. Organizations represented include Ford Europe, MIT, California Cars Initiative, French Ministry of Industry, Icelandic Energy Authority, city of Copenhagen, city of Reykjavik, city of Stockholm, and the Iceland Innovation Institute.

Opportunities for expert guided tours of Iceland's many hydroelectric and state of the art geothermal power plants can be arranged for visiting journalists and interested parties, as well as visits to a biogas production facility and the world's first hydrogen refuelling station. The sources of Iceland's renewable energy are best enjoyed by visiting Iceland's many spectacular waterfalls, hot springs and geysers, and of course by relaxing in the Blue Lagoon outdoor spa under a starlit sky in the middle of a lava field.

Iceland and renewable energy: the facts

- 72% of Iceland's total energy consumption is from hydro- and geothermal sources

- Iceland has no fossil fuels as a natural resource

- Reykjavik was the site for the world's first commercial hydrogen refuelling station, opened in 2003

- There is a growing fleet of hydrogen passenger cars as well as busses and cars running on locally produced biogas

- The import of ethanol cars and E85 fuel has begun and a Toyota Prius hybrid is being converted to a plug-in hybrid in September by the National Energy Authority

- This first plug-in hybrid in the country will be able to run over 100 kilometres on electricity alone

- All properties and industry in Iceland are run on renewable energy resources

- Three Icelandic cabinet ministers drive hybrid cars

- His Excellency, Olafur Ragnar Grimsson President of Iceland uses a hybrid Lexus L600

- Icelandair is currently introducing the option of carbon offsetting for all its passengers

- The city of Reykjavik recently introduced free parking for eco-friendly vehicles

- Barbara Boxer, US Senator & Chairperson of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee recently visited Iceland to learn more about renewable energy

- Icelanders are acknowledged as the world's leading authorities on renewable energy and their know-how in geothermal energy is being exported throughout the world.