Rock stars, lesbians, and probably some Icelandic elves team up for geothermal power
Photo: verapalsdottiTwo rules for industry in Iceland: Don’t piss off the elves, and do NOT mess with Bjork. She is the Hugo Chavez of Iceland, and if you take her country’s geothermal natural resources, she will threaten you with expropriation of nearly half a billion dollars of your company’s assets. Also, she is friends with the first openly gay head of state in modern times, Johanna Sigurdardottir, who recently stood shoulder to shoulder with the pop queen to sing protest songs outside of Iceland’s parliament building. Their bird-like caterwaul was specifically aimed at Canadian geothermal company Magma Energy, which is trying to seal a deal on Iceland’s largest private geothermal company, HS Orka.
A fountain of blood in the shape of a girl: Bjork’s on a quest to see Iceland take back its geothermal resources, after selling off 9 percent in a deal authorized by Iceland’s previous (now extremely unpopular) government. Her latest move: a petition signed by 47,000 people — nearly a sixth of the entire population of her adorable little Christmas village of a country.
Nature forges a deal to raise wonderful hell: Iceland could be the only developed country in the world to skip the industrial revolution and go straight to whatever sustainable post-carbon paradise lies beyond it, says Bjork, but only if they keep their geothermal resources intact. The country already gets the overwhelming majority of its primary energy from clean, renewable geothermal power. This wellspring of heat has also been proposed as a way to help the country rebuild its shattered economy, which won’t work if they auction off the underlying resource off like some kind of resource-cursed developing world basket case.
If you complain once more, you’ll meet an army of me: Bjork publicly threatened Magma Energy with expropriation of its assets — that means the Icelandic government would just take back the geothermal power plants, but maybe pay for them if they’re feeling charitable. Iceland has no navy, though, so this might not be the best idea.
Regardless, the latest development is that Iceland’s government is about to give Magma Energy a talking to. The obviously frustrated company has said it was “promised” that the deal would undergo no more reviews, but they should have known not to tangle with a woman who controls a robot tank with teeth.
You shouldn’t let poets lie to you: After her meeting with the prime minister, Bjork told reporters: “Basically we are in agreement on the issue, but it’s always a question of methods. In plain language — it’s a question of how to deal with the system, the bureaucracy.”
We’re just hoping she understands “the issue” and “the bureaucracy” better than she understands the magic of television:
Get Grist in your inbox