Samherji planning 40,000 tonnes land-based salmon farm at geothermal power plant

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Largest fishing company in Iceland signs agreement with major power company HS Orka.  New site will aim to be at full capacity by 2032.

Samherji Fishfarming has entered into an agreement with HS Orka for the development of land-based salmon farming in the Resource Park by the Reykjanes Power Plant, South West Iceland.

Eleven years
The company has secured access to sea and electricity to produce up to 40,000 tonnes of salmon on land annually. Warm seawater will be used in the production, a resource stream from the cooling of the Reykjanes Power Plant.

Thorsteinn Már Baldvinsson CEO of Samherji and Tómas Már Sigurdsson CEO of HS Orka shake hands on the agreement. By their side are Jón Kjartan Jónsson MD of Samherji Fishfarming and Jón Ásgeirsson VP Strategy and Resource Park of HS Orka. PHOTO: Samherji

The largest fishing company in Iceland plans to build the site in three phases over the next eleven years. The land-based salmon farm will consist of a hatchery, a grow-out and processing site as well as service buildings, the company wrote in a press release.

The total investment is estimated at over EUR 116 million. The board of Samherji has decided to provide funding for the first phase of the project, but it is planned to seek funding from investors for further expansion of the facilities. The fish farming plans in the Resource Park are considered significant compared to other aquaculture projects currently being prepared in Iceland and internationally.

40,000 tonnes
Work on the assessment process, licensing and design has begun and is scheduled to be completed next year. According to Samherji’s plans, juvenile production will start in the first phase in early 2023 and continued farming and processing of products in 2024 and 2025. In the first phase, 10,000 tonnes of salmon will be produced, with an estimated investment of EUR 116 million. In the second phase, 10,000 tonnes will be added, and in the third phase, 20,000 tonnes. If everything goes according to plan, the land-based farming in the Resource Park will be at full capacity in the year 2032.

Samherji Fishfarming, a company within the Samherji group, already has some activity in the Southern Peninsula region as the company operates a processing plant in Sandgerdi, a farm in Stadur by Grindavík and a farm in Vatnsleysuströnd. In addition, the company has a salmon farm and a hatchery.

Reykjanes Power Plant, Reykjanesbær, Iceland. MAP: Google

HS Orka currently operates two geothermal power plants in Svartsengi and Reykjanes and one hydropower plant at Brú in Tungufljót in Biskupstungur. In the Resource Park around HS Orka’s geothermal power plants, a unique community of companies has been built that utilize resource streams from the power plants in their operations.

Eleven companies have operations in the Resource Park, and Samherji will be the twelfth. The construction of the proposed fish farm supports the Resource Park’s goal of utilizing excess resource streams from geothermal power plants, which today flow partly unused to the sea. Conditions in the Resource Park are favourable when it comes to access to electricity, geothermal energy, warm sea and geothermal seawater.

“Best conditions for aquaculture we have seen”
“The management and staff of Samherji Fishfarming have worked hard on this project in Reykjanes for almost a year. It is a big step for us to finalize these agreements and be able to start building the project. We have achieved good results in aquaculture on land, and this investment reflects the confidence we have in the continued growth of this industry. We are excited to build in this area and to enjoy the benefits of close proximity to HS Orka and the Reykjanes Power Plant,” said Samherji Fishfarming MD Jón Kjartan Jónsson.

Computer-generated image of Samherji Fishfarming´s planned project in Reykjanes. IMAGE: Samherji

“In this area, there are some of the best conditions for aquaculture we have seen. The utilization of warm seawater flowing from HS Orka’s power plant is a major factor in making this project feasible. Not least, this is a very environmentally friendly production which the market is demanding,” he added.

“The development of land-based salmon farming within the Resource Park is the result of the utilization of Samherji ‘s and HS Orka’s knowledge in very different areas. When combined, we consider it efficient to develop extensive land-based fish farming, which surely must be considered important news,” said Samherji CEO Thorsteinn Már Baldvinsson.

“These investments will also create dozens of jobs in Reykjanesbær and the Southern Peninsula region and significantly increase Iceland’s export revenues. The Board of Directors of Samherji has already agreed to contribute ISK 7.5 billion (EUR 51 million .ed) to this aquaculture project to ensure the development of the first phase. In my opinion, it shows the confidence we have that this is the right path to the future of food production and value creation. At a later stage, we will look for more investors to ensure the complete structure of the project,” added Baldvinsson.


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