Oil-rich Norway mulls RE investments

Norway’s new centre-right coalition government is considering whether to invest some of its $790bn sovereign wealth fund in renewable energy projects across the world.

The government, formed by Conservative party leader Erna Solberg last month, will establish an investment programme for the Government Pension Fund of Norway with the purpose of backing sustainable projects and companies.

The move by the government follows a call by an alliance of investors, businesses and social groups, urging the government to expand its investments to encompass renewable energy.

They highlight that the fund’s size and long-term investment horizon makes it ideal for investing in renewables, adding that such a move would not be without precedent.

Both the Danish and Dutch governments are already investing their pension funds into renewable energy infrastructure, they point out.

“Norwegian savings could change the world,” says Nina Jensen, chief executive of WWF-Norway. “This would provide a powerful boost for the shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy.”

“If Norway actually did this, it would be an unprecedented shift in both the global investment community and also for tangible action on climate change,”says Samantha Smith, leader of WWF’s Global Climate & Energy Initiative.

“We now look to the Government of Norway to take the next step by putting thoughts into action.”

Formed in 1990, the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, generates money from the taxes on Norway’s oil industry, as well as interests in several North Sea fields, and a 67% stake in Statoil.