Reykjavik municipal energy museum,

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The Municipal Energy Museum is situated on the street Rafstodvarvegur (Power Station Road) in the Ellidaar Valley opposite to the Ellidaar Power Station, which has supplied the capital with electricity since 1921.  When the museum opened in 1990, its main goal was to depict the history of the electrification of the capital.  When The Municipal Energy Authority was established in 1999, its purpose was extended to cover the history of The Municipal Water Works and The Geothermal Heating Works.

The museum depicts folk history and technical development in Iceland.  On display are all kinds of things pertaining to the history and development of The Municipal Energy Authority during almost a century and which have played a major role in the country’s trade progress.  Electricity, hot water and pure

drinking water were determining factors in the development of the capital from a village to a town, when the sanitary situation and standard of living took a turn for the better.

In the autumn of 1899, the first electrical lights were turned on in this country.  It took place in the building of the Isafold Printing Works on Adarlstraeti 6.  The establishment of an electric authority had been debated for some time prior to this event.  Nothing came of it at the time, however, mainly because of other pressing and large projects, which were more important at the moment.

In 1909 The Municipal Water Works started their operation and were considered quite an endeavour.  Almost at the same time, The Municipal Gas Works started and supplied the inhabitants with fuel for cooking and lights, both outdoors and indoors.

During The First World War the discussions on the development of the electric project were continued and the hydroelectric power station on River Ellidaar was inaugurated in 1921.  The museum depicts its building phases and operation verbally and visually, and during workdays the power station is open to the visitors.

The output of the power station barely sufficed for lightning and some industrial undertaking.  Coal was used for house heating.  In the late twenties the idea of exploiting the geothermal energy for this purpose was put forward and several boreholes were sunk by the Washing Wells in the Laugardalur Valley.  In 1930 The Geothermal Heating Works starter their operation.  Its supply system was limited to a few homes, one of the schools and the swimming hall.  This experiment convinced the authorities, that its expansion would prove most advantageous, and in 1943 the whole community enjoyed this means of house heating from the boreholes at Reykir in the Mosfell Valley.

The authorities soon became interested in the unharnessed energy of River Sog in the Southwestern Lowlands.  In 1935 preparations for the construction of the first hydroelectric power station were commenced, and in 1937 it was inaugurated.  During the following decades the work continued and the river was considered fully exploited shortly before 1960, when two more power stations had been added.  The museum depicts this vast project.

The educational centre of the Energy Authority, The Energy World, is operated on the ground floor of the museum.  It concentrates on practical education of primary and secondary level pupils to deepen their understanding in the nature of electricity.

The opening hours of the museum contact:
  Tel.: 516 6790.

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