Starting in 2006, the government of Norway created a target of reaching 30 Terra Watt hours of elevated annual production of energy efficiency and renewable energy by 2016. Currently, the power system in Norway is hydropower dominated. Over the last few years, due to the investment the Norwegian government has made to increase efforts in the development of sources for renewable energy, the impact of cleantech in this Nordic country can be greatly felt.
1) Cleantech Investment. Because of the importance of cleantech in the nation, the government has provided more than $3 billion dollars into the cleantech initiative in Norway that will last through the year 2013. The aim of the investment is to bring about benefits in energy efficiency, clean energy, water technologies, carbon capture and storage, and the management of pollution and waste. The Minister of Finance states that sustainable growth projects will get a majority of the investment.
2) Norwegian government also established 8 world class research centres for renewable energy in February 2009. The centres are Research Centre for Offshore Wind Technology, The Norwegian Research Centre for Solar Cell Technology, Bioenergy Innovation Centre, and Centre for Environmental Design of Renewable Energy, The research Centre on Zero Emission Buildings, International, CCS Research Centre, Norwegian, Centre for Offshore Wind Energy, and SUbsurface CO2 storage.
3) The establishment of ENOVA has been an important boost to the renewable industry in Norway. Enova was officially created on June 22, 2001 and became operational on January 1, 2002. Enova is a public enterprise owned by the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy. Enova’s main mission is to contribute to environmentally sound and rational use and production of energy, relying on financial instruments and incentives to stimulate market actors and mechanisms to achieve national energy policy goals. The establishment of Enova signals a shift in Norway’s organization and implementation of its energy efficiency and renewable energy policy.
4) The government has established TRANSNOVA to support investments in the transport sector. This mandate points to the fact that greenhouse gas emissions from transport increase faster than emissions from other sources. The goal is to halt this trend, in order to achieve zero growth in emissions compared to today’s levels
5) Increase in Hydrogen Use for Vehicles. To increase the investment into hydrogen powered cars, and in an increased effort to move away from fossil fuel vehicles, Norway created a 360 mile “hydrogen highway” that offers five hydrogen powered fueling stations along the stretch of road. The project, established in 2003, is part of the HyNor highway which stretches from Oslo to Stavanger. Both Mazda and Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide, developers of hydrogen-fueled Toyota Priuses, are testing the highway.
6) Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate. NVE, the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate, was created under the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy. The NVE is tasked with guaranteeing an environmentally sound and integrated management of Norway’s water resources, to promote effective energy markets as well as energy systems that are cost-effective, and to increase contributions to efficient use of energy. To increase the impact of hydroelectricity, Norway’s main form of renewable energy, NVE is involved with the monitoring of Norway’s water resources, studies in the various power systems, and regulation of the country’s electricity.
7) Cleantech Expansion. Norway has the lead in clean technology development out of all the Nordic countries. In 2010, the biggest cleantech investments all went to Norwegian companies, including Metallkraft, THINK, and Norstel. Most deals brought to Norway involved expansion of current clean technology research and development. It attracted capital from international sources, including Climate Change Capital, Good Energies, and Environmental Technologies Fund. The success of cleantech expansion in Norway based on three different items – the success of REC, the availability of support and funding, and a pipeline of attractive and interesting opportunities for possible investments.
8) Renewable Energy Corporation (REC). To increase the usage of solar renewable energy sources, Renewable Energy Corporation, based out of Norway, is the leading international provider of solar energy solutions. The goal of REC is “to play a leading role and be a key contributor in shaping the future of the solar energy industry. We focus on achieving operational excellence and lower production costs to enhance solar viability. We do this by continuing to pursue ambitious technology development programs and cost-reduction initiatives.” Because of the strength of this company, it has grown and expanded, not only providing more solar capabilities to Norway and the rest of the globe, but increasing investments into Norway and creating an influx of new jobs.
9) Incentives to Create a Demand for Renewable Energy. Because of the impact of cleantech, there have been an encouragement in energy consumption, an increase in financial support from the Norwegian government to accept renewable sources of energy instead of electricity in businesses and industries, the establishment of government programs used to investments into the testing and implementations of solutions based on energy conservation and renewable energy, and the encouragement to plan for the establishment of a test center used for renewable energy through real time conditions.
10) Creation of Foreign Partnerships. Because of its advancements in the clean technology sector, Norway has often looked for various foreign partnerships to expand renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. For example, INTPOW, Norwegian Renewable Energy Partners, is a networking organization that assists in the promotion of cooperation between Norway and various foreign players throughout the renewable energy industry. INTPOW assists in meeting the Norwegian goal of having 60 percent of all energy come from renewable sources by 2070. It is believed that the only way to achieve such a thing is with the help of foreign networking opportunities. The Center for Renewable Energy in Norway is also responsible for networking and coordination with various national and international renewable energy companies.
Shawn Lesser is the president and founder of Atlanta-based Sustainable World Capital, which is focused on fund-raising for private equity cleantech/sustainable funds, as well as private cleantech companies and M&A. He is also a founder of the GCCA Global Cleantech Cluster Association, and can be reached at email@example.com.