It’s been a busy couple of days here at the Weather Report and I realize I’ve been totally remiss in keeping you posted on the big cliffhanger under discussion in the last post [apologies for that]. Meanwhile I bet you’re all just hanging on the edges of your seats waiting to know
DID THOSE FOOLISH NICELANDERS DECIDE TO KISS OFF THEIR PRECIOUS GEOTHERMAL RESOURCES ON THE BARREN PENINSULA OF REYKJANES FOR THE NEXT 130 YEARS OR DID THEY NOT?
Well, the decision is still pending. Last Thursday, the day the offer was to expire, the Minister of Finance – Steingrímur J. Sigfússon, leader of the Left-Green party – asked for an extension until the end of this month and it was granted. Apparently old Steingrímur is doing everything he can to find ways to have the state buy the outstanding share in HS Orka, to save it from becoming fully privatized. [Go Left-Greens!]
Since that time, a few more things have come to light about the proposed acquisition by Magma Energy of a majority in geothermal power company HS Orka. For instance, according to a report on eyjan.is, they would like to finance the acquisition with a bullet loan of ISK 9 billion, paid in dollars [USD or CAD is not clear] calculated at the current exchange rate. That’s, like, 70% of the total price. The lender? Reykjavík Energy – who also happens to be the seller. The collateral? Stakes in HS Orka itself.
Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up.
Meanwhile, one of the stories we’re being fed by those all gung-ho on selling is that Magma Energy has already swung similar deals elsewhere in the world, so we’re just being incredibly childish and petulant over here. Ah, but Fréttablaðið reports that Magma got far worse deals in Oregon and Nevada, for instance, than the ludicrous deal they’re hoping to swing here in Iceland. The proposed offer here stipulates that they’ll get exclusive access to our geothermal resources in Reykjanes for the next 65 years, which may be extended for another 65 after that. Conversely, in the two abovementioned deals Magma Energy got access to resources for a measly ten years, with a possibility of extending for another ten.
Twenty years instead of 130. Not really all that similar, is it?
Sadly [and alarmingly], there is an incredible amount of apathy around here over this issue. The vast majority of the population either doesn’t seem to realize what’s at stake or they’re just not paying attention. [I suspect the latter.] However, there is a scary number of people who actually seem think this privatization is a great idea – people I would not have expected that from, people who actually appear to have all their brain cells intact when they voice their opinions on other grave matters. I just don’t get it.
Be that as it may, I must say I’m delighted with the input in the comments section to the last post. It’s so enlightening and important for us to get the input from people who have actual experience of the sort of scenario we’ll almost certainly be faced with here in the next few years if this crazy deal goes through. So a big thanks to all of you who shared.
It’s been fairly mild today, but with a pesky wind. The same thing yesterday, which was Reykjavík Culture Night, a.k.a. any excuse for a party. Still – despite the relatively mild temps, it’s pretty clear that these are the dregs of summer. Fall and winter just around the corner. Currently 12°C [54F]. Sun came up at 5.42 am, set at 9.16 pm.