Norway is in the process of setting up a NOK20bn (€3.3bn) ‘Green Fund’ which will co-invest in green projects nationally and internationally, as part of a bid to move the country’s dependence away from oil and gas.
Speaking to RI, Ola Elvestuen, a member of the Storting (Norwegian Parliament) and co-deputy leader of the governing minority Venstre or Liberal Party, said it was planned for the Green Fund to be set up in Spring of next year with a board yet to be appointed. Elvestuen is also Head of Parliamentary Committee for Energy and Environment.
The Storting is still in negotiation with the government on the details of the Green Fund, but Elvestuen says it was expected to launch with 20bn krone in investment from Norway.
Elvestuen, who was speaking to RI from the 22nd climate change talks in Morrocco (COP22), said while the Green Fund in part was linked to its agreed Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to reduce carbon emissions as part of the global climate agreement, its central purpose was catalysing a green shift in Norway.
“Much of the economy is based on oil and gas – around 15% – in light of the lower price we need to change the economy and make the green shift in a major way,” he explained
He said the Green Fund is proposed to support environmental companies with a Norwegian connection national and internationally. “One element will be to support a system to reduce emissions, and another to develop a green economy in Norway that can take on the oil and gas economy.“It has to be more radical than today considering the extra uncertainty of the value of the oil and gas industry which sits in the middle of the discussion of whether it’s an asset or stranded.”
Elvestuen added that the Green Fund, which was the brainchild and pushed through by Venstre Deputy Leader Terge Breivik, would co-invest with others.
This year, Elvestuen and others from Norway met with the UK’s Green Investment Bank, which is due to be privatised, to discuss its plans.
According to the OECD there are around thirteen ‘green investment banks’ around the world, including the Green Finance Organisation in Japan, the Technology Fund in Switzerland, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation in Australia, Green Tech in Malaysia and a range of regional banks around the US.
Jon Dugstad, Director of INTPOW – Norwegian Renewable Energy Partners, a network for Norway’s renewable energy industry, welcomed the news, saying it would help the industry build value.
He said the fund had been given a broad mandate from Norway’s Parliament, with a focus on smaller venture tech firms, and the possibility to invest internationally providing there was a Norwegian link.
“It’s helpful for building the industry in Norway and internationally, adding to an image of Norway as a tech expert in this space.”