Nature consistently has the highest score when international tourists are asked which factor was most influential when deciding to travel to Iceland. When probed further, references are most often made to wanting to experience wilderness, and what is perceived as pristine and unspoiled nature. Domestically, the importance of pristine nature for international tourism has been used by nature conservationists when opposing specific energy projects, especially in the highlands. Results from several surveys, however, give mixed messages about if and how human structures negatively impact tourist experience in wilderness areas. The aim of this research is to explore the tension and conflicting interests between nature conservation, tourism and energy projects in Icelandic wilderness areas. Public discourses about new energy projects are examined, using critical discourse analysis to tease out dominant ideas and underlying assumptions about the relationship between tourism, nature conservation and energy projects. This analysis is compared with results from several recent surveys focusing on how tourists experience nature both in places where no energy structures are in sights and in places close to hydropower or geothermal plants and associated infrastructure. The findings challenge the common assumption that the construction of power plants in wilderness areas will automatically decrease the economic value of the area for tourism. Nevertheless, when viewed through the lens of more eco-centric environmental ethics, rather than purely focusing on economic value, the argument can be made that energy related structures in wilderness areas do indeed decrease the value of the area for tourism, not necessarily from an economic point of view but rather in the form of lost opportunities for the travelers to experience the deep, transformative connection to nature that the raw, untouched wilderness has the capacity to elicit.