Electrification in Iceland started in the beginning of the 20th century. Iceland's first encounter with electricity was in the late 17th century but the harnessing of hydro energy resources did not start until late in the 19th century. It was soon realized that hydro power was ideal for producing electricity. Ideas on the electric lightning of Reykjavik were introduced in 1894. The first motor generator which served the general populace was a 9 kW hydroelectric power station which Johannes Reykdal built in Hafnarfjordur in 1904. The power station first started on December 12th 1904 and represented a milestone in the history of the nation. The electricity was used to light up 16 houses, among them the town schoolbuilding. Four street lights were also set up. Various municipalities then started building their own power stations. A big step forward was the harnessing of the Ellida-rivers by the Reykjavik Municipality. The first phase of that hydro electric power station was ready in 1921.