In the year 2003 The National Power Company of Iceland started the building of the 700 MW Kárahnjúkar Hydroelectric Project in eastern Iceland. The project consists of three dams, one of them being the highest in Europe, and a hydroelectric power plant. The dams block among others the big glacial river Jökulá á Dal, creating the 57km2 artificial lake Hálslón.
The power plant is primarily being constructed to supply electricity to a new Aluminum smelter built by Alcoa of USA in the fjord of Reyðarfjörður on the east coast of Iceland.
The artificial lake and the constructions have spoiled the biggest wild nature in Europe. Making the Kárahnjúkar project, not only the biggest project in Icelandic history, but also the most controversial one. There have been a lot of debates about this project. Environmentalists are fighting for the preservation of the wild nature while those supporting the project talk about the need to use the energy the nature has to offer.
The best way for me to participate in the debate was to follow the land in its transformation.
Since the beginning of the project in 2003, I have been going regularly to the construction site,
taking landscape photographs, showing Icelandic contemporary landscape.
© Pétur Thomsen
Exposition aux Rencontres de la photographie d’Arles
jusqu’au 23 septembre