Búðarháls Power Plant

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Búðarháls Hydropower Plant
Coordinates64°14′07″N 19°22′09″W / 64.23528°N 19.36917°W / 64.23528; -19.36917Coordinates: 64°14′07″N 19°22′09″W / 64.23528°N 19.36917°W / 64.23528; -19.36917
Opening date07.03.2014
Dam and spillways
Type of damEmbankment, two rock-fill dams
ImpoundsTungnaá River
Kaldakvísl River
Height25 m (82 ft)
Length170 m (560 ft) 1,100 m (3,600 ft)
Dam volume25,500 m3 (900,000 cu ft) (170m x 25m x 6m) 165,000 m3 (5,800,000 cu ft) (1100m x 25m x 6m)
Spillway typeHeadrace tunnel, penstock
CreatesSporðalda Reservoir
Total capacity50 hm3 (41,000 acre⋅ft)
Surface area7 km2 (2.7 sq mi)
Turbines2 x 47.5 MW (63,700 hp) Kaplan-type
Installed capacity95 MW
Annual generation585 GWh

Búðarháls hydroelectric power plant (Icelandic: Búðarhálsstöð [ˈpuːðarˌhaulsˌstœːθ]) is the seventh largest power station of Landsvirkjun, the Icelandic national power company. It is located in the south of Iceland, around 150 km to the east of Reykjavík, among the Þjórsá and Tungnaá water catchment area, near the junction of the Kaldakvísl and Tungnaá rivers. It was officially launched on 7 March 2014.[1]

This power plant is the newest of six hydroelectric plants (the others being Búrfell, Sultartangi, Hrauneyjafoss, Vatnsfell and Sigalda) in the Þjórsá-Tungnaá area, and it is able to produce 585 GWh annually with its installed capacity of 95 MW (2 x 47.5 MW). The created reservoir, Sporðalda in the southeast of the mountain, with a surface of 7 km² and a total capacity of 50 hm³, is backed up by two embankment dams.

The Búðarháls power station is very important to the development of Iceland´s hydropower plants, since it connects all power plants on this river, which allows Iceland to use the whole river from the top until the bottom to its fullest, in order to make it unnecessary to destroy and dam other rivers instead.

Power-plant details[edit]

The Búðarháls Hydroelectric Power Station consist of the power plant building, two dams and a tunnel. The Búðarháls power house measures a size of around 66.800 m³ (55,400m x 31,05m x 38,84 m/ 26,54m underground), which contains two Kaplan turbines with a capacity of 47,5 MW each. Together the installed capacity measures 95 MW and are able to produce 585 GWh p.a. with a flow rate of 280 m³/s and a head of 40m.[2]

The two rock-fill dams were built to the east of the mountain´s ridge and a little upstream of the juncture of the Tungnaá and Kaldakvísl River. The NW-dam runs across the Kaldakvísl River and the SE-dam was constructed over the tail water from the Hrauneyjafoss Power Station. Both dams are around 25m high and have a total length of 1300m (170m and 1100m). The drill and blast headrace tunnel, which is 4 km long, 11,3m wide and 14,7m high, provides the turbines and the power plant with water from the new created intake Sporðalda reservoir. The tunnel transports the water through the mountain to a surge basin on the west side near the Sultartangi Reservoir, afterwards two 60m long steel pressure pipes (steel lined penstocks) are moving the water into the station´s turbines.

The produced energy from the turbines is directed from the generator to the transformer, which is located in the front of the station, after that it is sent underground to the Landsnet substation and further to the Hrauneyjar line onto the National grid.[3][4][5]

Project development[edit]

The construction work of the Búðarháls Hydroelectric Plant began in the end of 2001. After preparing the construction site in order to make it easier accessible, the actual and official construction work began in November 2010, in which 65.000 m³ of concrete and 4.500 tonnes of steel was used. The digging operations were finished in September 2012 and in the end of 2013 they completed the powerhouse, the intake structure and filled the Sporðalda reservoir. After the reservoir and the dam were filled, they took the Power Station into operation and after some testing the Búðarháls hydroelectric power plant was officially brought online on 7 March 2014.[6][7]


  1. ^ "Projects".
  2. ^ http://eprints2.insa-strasbourg.fr/1388/1/M%C3%A9moire__PFE_Simon_RICHARD.pdf
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 12 November 2018. Retrieved 20 June 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Búðarháls power station". 16 July 2012.
  5. ^ "Budarhals Hydroelectric Plant Design & Development | Projects".
  6. ^ "The Búðarháls Power Station - Landsvirkjun Annual Report 2013".
  7. ^ "Budarhals Hydroelectric Plant Design & Development | Projects".