, REYKJAVIK, Apr 23 – Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visited the Hellisheidi Power Station in southwest Iceland at the weekend, saying China will advance cooperation with this Nordic island country in geothermal energy.
At the Hellisheidi power station, the second largest among Iceland’s five major geothermal power plants, Wen watched the demonstration of the plant’s operation and a video clip about Iceland’s geothermal energy.
He also held a seminar with Icelandic geologists and students from China, Kenya and other countries, who are participating in a United Nations training program in geothermal energy.
To strike a balance between achieving development goals and tackling climate change, the developing countries need to follow a path characterized by energy saving and developing and using new energy such as geothermal energy, Wen said.
Geothermal energy resources are widely discovered in China, making the country among the richest in geothermal energy in the world, the premier said. But China was still in its infancy of developing and utilizing them, thus offering a huge market potential, he added.
Noting that Iceland has trained many Chinese students in geothermal study, Wen said China will strengthen cooperation with Iceland in developing, utilizing, researching and promoting geothermal energy and other clean energy.
Wen, a geologist himself, also shared his views on the value of geology for national welfare and the people’s livelihood.
He encouraged the students to use what they learn from the UN program, which has been conducted by Iceland for many years, to develop and utilize natural resources in a sustained way so as to serve their country and people.
Icelandic Foreign Minister Ossur Skarphedinsson, who accompanied Wen during the visit to the power station, said that Iceland is willing to share all its expertise with China in geothermal energy and to make the cooperation between the two countries a good example.
“In terms of population, Iceland is a small country and China is the biggest one. But when we come together and join hands, we can certainly make a difference,” said Skarphedinsson, who has been a staunch supporter for enhancing cooperation with China.
The Icelandic foreign minister said that his wife, a renowned geology professor, has been involved herself in the UN program and taught many students from China.
Geothermal power plants provide over a quarter of energy needs in Iceland, which has proven a great success in the country’s transformation from burning coal to using clean geothermal energy over the past several decades.
On Friday, Iceland and China signed an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in geothermal energy under the witness of Wen and Iceland Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir.
Accompanied by his Icelandic host, Sigurdardottir, Premier Wen also visited a farm and was well received by a farmer’s family on Saturday morning.
The Chinese people hope to know more about Iceland and the two countries can broaden exchanges and cooperation in agriculture and tourist industry, Wen said.