RARIK (Iceland State Electricity) was established on 2nd April, 1946, and started operations in January the following year. RARIK has worked on developing various power projects throughout Iceland, such as the electrification of rural areas and interconnecting districts with high voltage system. RARIK also laid extensive system of transmission lines between the country’s various regions, constructing an integrated power grid stretching around all of Iceland. RARIK has been the leading force behind these developments, and thanks to the extensive interconnected power grid, the whole country can now benefit from every harnessed hydro-electric or geothermal power source.
The history of RARIK is closely connected to the republic’s own history, as electrical and industrial development went hand in hand in Iceland. By devoting its energy to building an electric power transmission and distribution system for the country’s rural as well as urban areas, RARIK has played an important role in the development of individual regions in Iceland.
RARIK ltd, a corporation owned by the government, was established August 1st 2006. It then took over management of The State Electric Power Works.
On establishment the company’s main objective was to procure sufficient electrical power to the general public and industries in a favourable manor. The company has had an important role to play in procuring, distributing and selling electric power.
With the onset of new energy laws in 2003 and privatization and monopoly regulations it was decided to establish a subsidiary, Orkusalan. Orkusalan’s principal function is to generate and sell electric energy on RARIK’s behalf. Orkusalan, which is owned by RARIK ohf, was founded in the beginning of 2007. It manages 5 power plants, the Rjúkanda power plant, the Skeiðfoss power plant, the Grímsárs power plant, the Lagarfoss power plant and the Smyrlabjarga power plant. The total capacity of these power plants is 37 MW, the Lagarfoss power plant being the largest.
With changes in electric power laws RARIK quit selling electricity. Landsnet hf was established on January 1st 2005, it’s primary role being transmission of electricity in the country. A majority of RARIK’s main line system was sold to Landsnet hf. RARIK now owns a 22% share in the company.
Today the company’s main objective is distribution of electric power and has gradually been working on building distribution networks in rural areas, 90% of which belong to RARIK. RARIK’s distribution network reaches to Western, Northern, Eastern and South Iceland. It also reaches 43 urban areas all over the country. The length of the high voltage distribution network is just over 9.000 km. Originally all high voltage distribution was via overhead power lines, but at the end of 2018, 62% of the system is underground cables.
RARIK also owns and runs five heating plants, geothermal power plants in Búðardalur, Blönduós and Siglufjörður and district heating systems in Seyðisfjörður and Höfn in Hornafjörður.
In 2008 RARIK established a special organization called RARIK Energy Development Ltd. Its purpose is to handle projects already in production locally and abroad and also find and develop new projects locally and abroad.