Þeistareykjavirkjun - geothermal power plant starts operation


Landsvirkjun has finished the construction of a 90 MWe geothermal power plant at Þeistareykir in the north-eastern part of Iceland. EFLA Consulting Engineers were responsible for the supervision of the construction of the powerhouse, all steel structures and electrical installations. 

  • Þeistareykir
    Þeistareykir geothermal power plant. Photographer: Hreinn Hjartarson

According to EFLA's employee Sigurjón Sigurjónsson, who served as resident engineer for the project from April until November last year, the work started in June 2015 when the contractor Munck Íslandi (formerly LNS Saga) started concrete work on the powerhouse and soon thereafter earthwork for steam supply system began. In the beginning EFLA had two employees at the site, soon they became three and in 2016 and the first half of 2017 there were five people from EFLA at site for construction supervision, at the peak of the contractor's activities.

In April 2017 Sigurjón Sigurjónsson  assumed the role of Resident Engineer for the project. That is uncommon as that role is usually assumed by Landsvirkjun's own personnel. The main function of the Resident Engineer is to coordinate the work of different contractors that are working at the construction site, often in the same area. He is also involved in HSE matters at site and responsible for the administration of the camp accommodations that Landsvirkjun has at site for the use of many of its contractors.

Powerhouse and steam supply

The construction of the powerhouse and steam supply system continued until the end of 2017. EFLA provided people in all disciplines for the construction of the powerhouse and laying of steam pipelines, i.e.

  • Concrete Works and Earthwork
  • Steel Structures
  • HVAC
  • Piping – interior, exterior and steam pipes
  • Electrical Systems
  • Interior Finishes

First official startup

In the beginning of December there was a formal taking over of the first 45 MWe unit by Landsvirkjun from the manufacturers Fuji Electric and Balcke-Dürr. The running of the unit is now the responsibility of Landsvirkjun. At the same time Munck Íslandi finished the last part of the steam supply system. As the construction phase has become simpler and there are fewer contracts to coordinate, Landsvirkjun has now assumed the duties of the Resident Engineer again. Landsvirkjun plans to formally take over the second 45 MWe unit by middle of April.

ÞeistareykirÞeistareykir geothermal power plant. Photographer: Hreinn Hjartarson

Programming of control systems

EFLA is a subcontractor for ABB AS, Balcke-Dürr GmbH and Fuji Electric Co. Ltd regarding control system consulting for Þeistareykir geothermal power plant. EFLA was responsible for programming of the ABB 800xA DCS system, performed signal and function testing and startup of the plant's control system. EFLA's scope was steam supply, cold water supply, electrical distribution, cold-end and integration of turbine and generator controls into the DCS system. EFLA also designed the DCS control cubicles for cold-end, turbine and generator.

Extensive tests were carried out on the control system, including setup and detailed testing of the whole DCS system, networking and all other major components in a workshop in Akureyri, North Iceland. All contractors, Landsvirkjun and consultants participated in those tests that lasted one month.

Diversed responsibility

The scope of the on-site work was very broad, including planning, supervision and execution of signal testing, function testing, coordination, participation in performance tests and in the trial runs. EFLA also took on the role of HSE manager for one of the contracts. The project work started in January 2016 and has been ongoing since with peak demand for manpower during the on-site commissioning work with up to 6-7 employees. 

EFLA has gained considerable experience and increased its competence in the field of geothermal automation engineering throughout this project and is well positioned for future geothermal energy projects. EFLA will be providing operational services for the plant as well.

Multifunctional experience worldwide

EFLA has been increasingly making its presence known in the geothermal sector over the past years. Þeistareykir is the first geothermal power plant in Iceland, where EFLA plays a significant role in the construction, supervision and commissioning phases. Prior to the work at Þeistareykir EFLA has been working on Geothermal projects in Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and South America in the past 5-10 years. The geothermal projects EFLA has entered abroad in Turkey, Croatia, Africa and Indonesia are very diverse. Prior to the work at Þeistareykir EFLA has been involved in two Arbitrations involving ON, HS Orka and Century Aluminium, where the objective was to deliver a predesign and feasibility study for a 90 MWe Power Plant at Hverahlíð and review of all CAPEX and OPEX of the existing Power Plants owned by HS Orka and all possible new geothermal power plant developments. 

EFLA's geothermal experts are very proud to be awarded the contract for development of the refurbishment and new design of the Blue Lagoon geothermal SPA and Hotel in Svartsengi Iceland.