Saturday, March 15, 2014

Norway’s Sovereign Wealth Fund to Mandate Investment in Renewable Energy

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg speaks during a news conference at Maximos Mansion in Athens on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013. (Credit: AP/Thanassis Stavrakis) Click to enlarge.
On Thursday, Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg announced plans to invest more of the nation’s $840 billion sovereign wealth fund in renewable energy in an effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions as the country struggles to meet its 2020 climate goals.

Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, built in large part on investment from the country’s oil and gas reserves, currently only invests a small fraction of money in green technology.  The fund invests in listed equities, bonds and real estate, about 10 percent of which is made up of coal, oil and gas investments.  The fund is also evaluating whether to exit these investments, as over the last 10 years nuclear weapons producers, companies in-breach of human rights, and tobacco companies have all been excluded.

“If the fund were allowed to expand its portfolio to include direct investments in assets like wind and solar plants and other infrastructure, this could potentially have a very significant impact on the total flow of capital to the renewable energy sector,” writes Terje Osmundsen of the Norwegian Climate Foundation.

Last week, Norway’s Environment Agency said that “powerful and quick” cuts would be necessary to meet the goal of reducing GHGs by 30 percent from 1990 levels by 2020. Bloomberg Businessweek reports that in 2012 the country emitted pollution equivalent to 52.7 million tons of carbon, up 4.6 percent from 1990.

The previous government, which Solberg took over for in October, abandoned plans to build a carbon capture and storage plant and refinery as costs spiraled out of control and delays persisted.  However, the government is still pushing toward developing CCS technology, and to make good on the pledge to build a full-size plant by 2020.

Norway’s Sovereign Wealth Fund to Mandate Investment in Renewable Energy

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