Blanda is a 150 MW hydroelectric power plant, owned and operated by Landsvirkjun, located in north-western Iceland.
The assessment was carried out using the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol. The Protocol assesses 20 topics and assigns scores for each between 1 and 5, with 5 representing Proven Best Practice and 3 representing Basic Good Practice. It was conducted over the period August to October 2013, with an on-site assessment encompassing a visit to the project site and interviews with stakeholders conducted in the week beginning 9th September 2013.
Blanda was commissioned in 1991. It has low adverse environmental and social impacts, and the most significant one (loss of vegetation and sheep grazing lands under the large reservoir) has been compensated by a large revegetation programme. Relationships with local stakeholders are excellent. The project provides important social and economic benefits to the sparsely populated local area and to Iceland overall. It has also improved environmental conditions for fish in the lower Blanda River, resulting in much expanded salmon angling opportunities. Power generation in Iceland largely goes to power intensive industries such as aluminium smelters. Landsvirkjun is a strategic company for the Icelandic economy and for its owner, the Icelandic government.
These issues are reflected in the findings of the assessment, and in a range of high scores that summarise the findings (see diagram, below).