Laws and regulations concerning the Master Plan
The Master Plan is regulated by Act No. 48 from 2011 on the Plan for nature protection and energy utilisation that was passed unanimously by the Alþingi on 16 May 2011. The Act entered partially into force on 20 May 2011 and then later in totality on 14 January 2013, following the passing by the Alþingi of a proposal for a parliamentary resolution that was provided for in Article 3 of the Act. The parliamentary resolution introduces the conclusions of the 2nd phase of the Master Plan, where the power plant options are classified into protection-, on hold or energy utilisation categories. This classification is still valid (October 2014) and maintains its validity until the Alþingi passes a new resolution on this issue.
The will of the Alþingi by its enactment of this law and the purpose of the Master Plan is described in some detail in the explanatory notes to the bill that later was passed as Act No. 48/2011. A detailed discussion on the will of the law-giver and the divided opinions of the members of the Alþingi can also be found in the committee opinion that accompanied the proposal for the resolution referred to above.
Orkustofnun - the National Energy Authority - has the function according to Act No. 48/2011 to receive applications petitioning the Master Plan steering committee to take power plant options up for consideration, and to assess whether the documentation accompanying the application is sufficient for making an assessment regarding the power plant option. Regulation No. 540/2014 further specifies which paperwork or documentation will be needed to accompany such applications.
Regulations on the procedures for the steering committee were signed by the Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources on 22 May 2015 and published in the Law Gazette on 12 June the same year. Further information on the issuing of the regulations can be found in a news item on the Master Plan website from 9 July 2015.