Norway’s US$3.2 billion renewables fund to include hydro

Norway is setting up a 20 billion crown (US$3.24 billion) fund to promote renewable energy such as wind and hydropower while spurring energy savings.

The government said June 12 that the fund is to help boost renewable energy sources and energy efficiency to increase available power by 30 terawatt-hours by 2016. Norway’s total power output, mostly from hydropower, is about 120 TWh a year.

“Bioenergy, windpower, hydropower, and energy efficiency will contribute to new possibilities, new jobs, and new optimism over the whole country,” Oil and Energy Minister Odd Roger Enoksen said.

The fund’s manager, state energy firm Enova, is to strengthen infrastructure for district heating, stimulate energy efficiency and renewable energy in households, and set up a deposit scheme to encourage scrapping of oil boilers.

Norway needs to promote renewable energy use partly because its emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide, mainly from burning oil, were far above target and about 9 percent above 1990 levels in 2005. Under the U.N.’s Kyoto Protocol on curbing global warming, Norway has to limit any increase in emissions to no more than 1 percent by 2008-2012 compared to 1990 levels.

Under the new scheme, about 10 billion crowns would be put into the fund from January 2007 through the government’s annual budget, and another 10 billion from January 2009.

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