Analysis over Iceland’s Renewables Energy Miracle

This data has been collected, aggregated, and documented by Hannah Ritchie, Max Roser and Edouard Mathieu. And it’s completely open access under the Creative Commons BY license

  1. Source of the DataSet.
  2. For codes, check my GitHub’s account.
  3. The Python and Anaconda’s JupyterLab tools will be used to this analysis.

The Last Post

According to my last post, an analysis over Renewables adoption, we’ve reached the conclusion that from a bunch of selected countries, Iceland was the only country in the world that significantly increase its production of energy from renewables sources per capita.

In other words, Icelands production increase its capacity over the evolution of its population, to make it clearer, follows the graph from the previous post:

Graph 1 — Evolution — Top 20 Countries: Generation of Energy from Renewable Sources Per Capita in KiloWatt/hours

Objetive

What happened? How does it happened? Why Iceland had a tremendous success over the other “Top 20 countries” in energy production from renewables sources?

Iceland

Once upon in time… there was a land known as “a land of ice and fire” who became a model for the rest of the world.

According to Iceland’s Ministry of Industry and Innovation, “About 85% of the total primary energy supply in Iceland is derived from domestically produced renewable energy sources.”

And add “In 2016 geothermal energy provided about 65% of primary energy, the share of hydropower was 20%, and the share of fossil fuels was 15%. The main use of geothermal energy is for space heating”.

Analysis — Data Cleansing

Notice!

If you are not interested in the technical part you can jump direct to “Analysis over Iceland’s Renewables Energy Miracle”

Technically there are a lot of job to be done before the analysis starts itself. The dataset has 17.432 rows by 122 columns, but we had to filter all the data from Iceland, it includes Null numbers (nan values) and 0 numbers.

After all the cleansing the new dataset has 55 rows and 28 columns.

These are the new columns.

[‘year’, ‘coal_share_energy’, ‘coal_consumption’, ‘coal_cons_per_capita’, ‘energy_per_capita’, ‘fossil_share_energy’, ‘fossil_fuel_consumption’, ‘fossil_energy_per_capita’, ‘hydro_share_energy’, ‘hydro_consumption’, ‘hydro_energy_per_capita’, ‘low_carbon_share_energy’,
‘low_carbon_consumption’, ‘low_carbon_energy_per_capita’,
‘oil_share_energy’, ‘oil_consumption’, ‘oil_energy_per_capita’,
‘other_renewables_share_energy’, ‘other_renewable_consumption’,
‘other_renewables_energy_per_capita’, ‘population’,
‘primary_energy_consumption’, ‘renewables_share_energy’,
‘renewables_consumption’, ‘renewables_energy_per_capita’,
‘wind_share_energy’, ‘wind_consumption’, ‘wind_energy_per_capita’]

We already have our columns with data ranging from 1965 to 2019.

But before we start, we have to understand each one of these columns, whether it is share in %, whether it is consumption or production, whether it is in TeraWatt or MegaWatt, whether it is in hours, months of year.

So let’s dig in.

  • coal_share_energy: Share of primary energy consumption that comes from coal
  • coal_consumption: Primary energy consumption from coal, measured in terawatt-hours
  • coal_cons_per_capita: Per capita primary energy consumption from coal, measured in kilowatt-hours
  • energy_per_capita: Primary energy consumption per capita, measured in kilowatt-hours per year
  • fossil_share_energy: Share of primary energy consumption that comes from fossil fuels
  • fossil_fuel_consumption: Fossil fuel consumption, measured in terawatt-hours. This is the sum of primary energy from coal, oil and gas.
  • fossil_energy_per_capita: Per capita fossil fuel consumption, measured in kilowatt-hours. This is the sum of primary energy from coal, oil and gas.
  • hydro_share_energy: Share of primary energy consumption that comes from hydropower
  • hydro_consumption: Primary energy consumption from hydropower, measured in terawatt-hours
  • hydro_energy_per_capita: Per capita primary energy consumption from hydropower, measured in kilowatt-hours
  • low_carbon_share_energy: Share of primary energy consumption that comes from low-carbon sources. This is the sum of primary energy from renewables and nuclear
  • low_carbon_consumption: Primary energy consumption from low-carbon sources, measured in terawatt-hours
  • low_carbon_energy_per_capita: Per capita primary energy consumption from low-carbon sources, measured in kilowatt-hours
  • oil_share_energy: Share of primary energy consumption that comes from oil
  • oil_consumption: Primary energy consumption from oil, measured in terawatt-hours
  • oil_energy_per_capita: Per capita primary energy consumption from oil, measured in kilowatt-hours
  • other_renewables_share_energy: Share of primary energy consumption that comes from other renewables
  • other_renewable_consumption: Primary energy consumption from other renewables, measured in terawatt-hours
  • other_renewables_energy_per_capita: Per capita primary energy consumption from other renewables, measured in kilowatt-hours
  • population: Total population
  • primary_energy_consumption: Primary energy consumption, measured in terawatt-hours
  • renewables_share_energy: Share of primary energy consumption that comes from renewables
  • renewables_consumption: Primary energy consumption from renewables, measured in terawatt-hours
  • renewables_energy_per_capita: Per capita electricity consumption from renewables, measured in kilowatt-hours
  • wind_share_energy: Share of primary energy consumption that comes from wind
  • wind_consumption: Primary energy consumption from wind, measured in terawatt-hours
  • wind_energy_per_capita: Per capita primary energy consumption from wind, measured in kilowatt-hours

*Definition of Primary Energy (link)

The definitions returned us some useful informations, we only have energy measurement in killowatt and terawatt hours, it will save a lot of effort in organizing our data. And the rest of the data is in share (%), except for population.

So let’s organize all the data into 3 variables: TeraWatt/hour, KiloWatt/Hour and Share.

  1. Iceland Share: it has 55 rows by 10 columns:

[‘year’, ‘coal_share_energy’, ‘fossil_share_energy’,
‘hydro_share_energy’, ‘low_carbon_share_energy’, ‘oil_share_energy’,
‘other_renewables_share_energy’, ‘renewables_share_energy’,
‘wind_share_energy’, ‘population’]

2. Iceland TeraWatt/hour: it has 55 rows by 11 columns:

[‘year’, ‘coal_consumption’, ‘fossil_fuel_consumption’,
‘hydro_consumption’, ‘low_carbon_consumption’, ‘oil_consumption’,
‘other_renewable_consumption’, ‘primary_energy_consumption’,
‘renewables_consumption’, ‘wind_consumption’, ‘population’]

3. Iceland KiloWatt/hour: it has 55 rows by 11 columns:

[‘year’, ‘coal_cons_per_capita’, ‘energy_per_capita’,
‘fossil_energy_per_capita’, ‘hydro_energy_per_capita’,
‘low_carbon_energy_per_capita’, ‘oil_energy_per_capita’,
‘other_renewables_energy_per_capita’, ‘renewables_energy_per_capita’,
‘wind_energy_per_capita’, ‘population’]

We know that when it comes to consumption, we’re talking about in TeraWatt/hour, and when we are dealing with per_capita indicators, we are analysing KiloWatt/hour and share express the percentage of total energy.

Analysis over Iceland’s Renewables Energy “Miracle”

As we divided our dataset into 3 brand new sets, we will follow the same logic in our analysis. First of all we will analyse the shares, then consumption and then the per capita indicators.

Evolution of Iceland’s Energy Share by Source

Graph 2 — Evolution of Fossil and Renewables Energy as % of the Total

As we can see in Graph 2, Iceland’s energy comes from Fossil and Renewables sources, and as Iceland improve its renewables capacity the less Fossil fuel they use.

Now, let’s dig even deeper into those numbers.

Graph 3 — Evolution of Fossil and Renewables Energy as % of the Total

Before dig in, we need to clarify somethings about Graph 3.

This chart shows us the percentage of total energy consumption in Iceland. So hydro belongs to the Low Carbon sources.

What we’re actually trying to inform with this message is: hydro energy is part, and the most significant part of the “Low Carbon” sources. And the major part of the Fossil sources, comes from Oil and Coal.

So, Iceland exchanged Fossil for Renewables as they major source of energy.

With that in mind, we can fully analyse what the Graph 2 and 3 tell us.

As oil dropped from 1965 to the mid of the 80’s, the Hydro increased in the same pace and the same scenerio was kept until the end of the 90s, when Iceland increased their “Other Renewables” capacity and this increase in capacity empowered them to use even less Fossil fuel.

So we can infere that, Iceland became a model for the world, because their capacity to generate energy from “Hydro” and their “Other Renewables”.

In 2019, about 20% of the Iceland energy consumption comes from Fossil and 80% from Renewables Sources (including low carbon as Hydro).

From this 20% we have about 18% from oil and 2% from coal.

Now, you might be asking… ok, but what is “Other Renewables” minding that the dataset doesn’t explain us what it really includes.

If Solar and Wind power are not included, what it could might be?

Image 1 - Krafla Geothermal Power Station. Source: Wikipedia

According to the National Energy Authority, Orkustofnun, Iceland is a pioneer is Geothermal energy.

Generating electricity with geothermal energy has increased significantly in recent years. Geothermal power facilities currently generate 25% of the country’s total electricity production. — Orkustofnun

GeoThermal

The Dataset, doesn’t tell us what exactly is “Other Renewables”, but it brings us solar and wind, which represents a small amount of the total energy in Iceland.

So, using only our data set, we assume that the main portion of the “Other Renewables” from the dataset comes from GeoThermal.

But before, go on we have to check-it, if its true:

Image 1 — Electricity Generation from Geothermal — Source: Orkustofnun

According to Askja Enegy, the main Geothermal Power Plants in Iceland are:

  1. Hellisheiði Power Station (303 MW) — 2006
  2. Nesjavellir Geothermal Power Station (120 MW) — 1996
  3. Reykjanes Power Station (100 MW) — 2006
  4. Svartsengi Power Station (76.5 MW) — 1976
  5. Krafla Power Station (60 MW) — 1978
  6. Þeistareykir Power Station (90 MW) — 2017
Graph 1 — Evolutin of Other Renewables

As Hydro and Geothermal production increase, Iceland was able to reduce its energy production from Fossil fuels.

Not every country has the same geothermal neither hydro advantages as Iceland has. Many other countries might have solar or wind advantages, like windy shores, or be near to the equator zone, so, they can explore others areas that Icelands has not yet, like wind and solar power.

Igor Comune.

An "under construction" Data Scientist with a love for numbers and analysis!