Our first stop is Reykjavík, Iceland’s capital. It is the smallest of all the green cities, hosting just about 115,000 people (almost half the country’s population!).
As previously mentioned, not only Reykjavík but also the entirety of Iceland is going 100% fossil-fuel free by 2050, aiming to become a hydrogen economy.
For a long time now, Iceland has been running largely off hydropower and geothermal resources thanks to its many volcanoes and hot springs. These are completely renewable, greenhouse-gas-emissions-free resources. Thus far, a few of Reykjavík’s buses run on hydrogen and hopefully more will be joining them very soon.
In fact, it is Iceland’s very renewable energy resources that many people hope will pull the country out of its sunken economy. It is cheap and ridiculously convenient for Iceland to obtain all the green megawatts it needs from [yet untapped!] geothermal power sources within the ground. (Its other resource is its fishing industry, whose further tapping is not an appealing choice given the hydropower dams needed to extract additional quantities of fish from national waters.)
Already back in 2003, Reykjavík became the home of the very first Shell-branded hydrogen station. (It was built by Shell Hydrogen, a global business of the Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Companies.)
75% of the world’s energy is consumed by urban areas, so any cleansing choices in terms of energy sources, such as substituting pollutants for renewable, clean energy, is the absolutely 100% awesome way to go. Note: I don’t know how Iceland would fit in here, since 54% of the geothermal energy generated in 2006 was used for space heating and everywhere in Iceland is cold enough to require space heating!
So if you’re thinking about going somewhere spectacular on the cheap, consider Reykjavík! (Need some coaxing? Read this blog post.)