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China's Geothermal City Opens New Heating Utility

The first phase of a new geothermal district heating utility in China's official geothermal city, Xian Yang, opened this week, implemented by a consortium of Icelandic/Nordic companies, including financier Glitnir and Orkuveita Reykjavikur.

Orkuveita Reykjavikur, an independent utility company owned by the City of Reykjavik, currently runs one of the world's largest geothermal district heating system in Reykjavik. China's considerable potential in geothermal energy is only beginning to be tapped, and Xian Yang comprises the center for the development. This geothermal heating system is the first project of the newly established Shaanxi Green Energy, a joint venture between Shaanxi Geothermal Energy Development Co. Ltd. (CGCO) and Enex China, in which Glitnir is one of the three main shareholders. "I am extremely proud to note that Icelandic knowledge is contributing to keeping Chinese households warm. It is indeed humbling to know that the development of pollution free and sustainable energy resources for heating purposes in China has significant implications not only for China's energy policy, but also worldwide," said Iceland's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Valgerdur Sverrisdottir. For 70 years, Iceland has pioneered the utilization of this natural and clean energy source. Tapping its plentiful geothermal energy, this volcanic island, situated right on top of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, has turned a natural hazard into a unique national asset. "Every day that we utilize geothermal energy instead of burning coal is a good day," said Asgeir Margeirsson, ENEX chairman and a director at Orkuveita Reykjavikur.
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