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Greenland powers up fifth hydroelectric plant

Taking another step on its “road to energy independence”, island country now has five hydro plants

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Greenland threw the switch on a new hydroelectric power station on Friday. Located in Paakisoq, about 50 kilometres outside the west coast town of Ilulissat, the plant is one of the largest construction projects ever undertaken in the country.

“This is an impressive facility,” said the minister of housing, nature and environment, Miiti Lynge, during the opening ceremony. “It looks small on the surface, but it can provide power to the entire city of Ilulissat. Like an iceberg, most of it is hidden beneath the surface.”

After cutting the ribbon, Lynge joined energy director Henrik Estrup, the new Icelandic Consul General and workers who helped build the facility on an underground tour deep into the plant's heart.

Leading the world in hydropower
The new plant is Greenland's fifth hydroelectric power station. The first was constructed in Nuuk, the capital city, in 1993.

“Opening this plant brings our share of renewable energy up to 70 percent,” said Estrup. “There are not many countries in the world that can match us in this area.”

Estrup said that hydropower gives Greenland energy independence.

Back to nature
The new plant uses glacial meltwater from two lakes and cost 600 million kroner to construct. Lynge said it was worth the cost.

“With green energy from hydropower, we use the forces of nature to provide us with electricity, connecting us in a modern way with nature; the power begins as snowfall and hen the thawing water flows through the turbines.”