Oil fund to invest more in renewable energy

The Norwegian government will double the framework for the oil fund’s investments related to renewable energy, to the delight of the country’s environmentalists, news agency NTB reported Saturday.

Investments will include various types of physical facilities that are used for the production, transmission, distribution and storage of renewable energy sources.

Renewable energy is an area of strong growth, the government said in a press release.

“The Government is open for the Government Pension Fund Global to be invested in unlisted infrastructure for renewable energy within the special environmental-related mandates. The same requirements shall be set for profitability and openness as for other investments,” Minister of Finance Siv Jensen was quoted as saying.

The upper limit for these investments is doubled from 60 billion kroner (6.9 billion U.S. dollars) to 120 billion kroner (13.9 billion U.S. dollars).

A special upper limit for investments in unlisted infrastructure for renewable energy is set for 2 percent of the fund.

“This is investment strategy, not climate policy,” Jensen said.

The news was welcomed by Bard Vegar Solhjell in the World Wide Fund for Nature Norway (WWF Norway).

“Finally, the government has listened to us and allows the oil fund to invest in projects that can supply the world with green renewable energy. We at WWF have worked for this for many years,” he told NTB.

Marius Holm, head of environmental foundation Zero, said: “The Government’s decision earlier this spring to not invest in upstream oil companies only makes a small contribution to reducing the oil fund’s climate risk. An opening for larger investments in renewable energy is a far more important contribution. Therefore, the mandate should also be increased beyond the framework the government has now set up.”

Martin Norman, from Greenpeace and Frederic Hauge from Bellona foundation both pointed out that this has been requested for ten years.

“Finally, the oil fund will have to invest in renewable energy outside the stock exchange, something we have been working for in a long time! Such investments will be crucial to achieving the goals we have agreed on in the Paris Agreement,” said Anja Bakken Riise, leader of environmental organization The Future in Our Hands.