Norway plans $369m green industry investments

Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg

The Norwegian government proposes spending 3.6bn Norwegian crowns ($369m) on investments to make its economy greener as it gradually emerges from coronavirus lockdowns, the government said on Friday.

“The crisis we are now in hasn’t made the need for transformation smaller - it has increased it,” Prime Minister Erna Solberg told a news conference.

While a half-century of oil and gas production has made Norway one of the world’s wealthiest nations, the country aims to transition into a less oil-dependent economy and make more room for other, especially greener, industries to grow.

The centre-right minority government of oil and gas producing Norway now faces negotiations with opposition parties on the contents of the package.

Some 2bn crowns will be distributed by Enova, a state agency supporting companies’ efforts to reduced greenhouse gas emissions, while 1 billion crowns will go to science projects, the government said in a whitepaper.

The government has further raised its projected 2020 spending from the country’s sovereign wealth fund by 5bn crowns to 424.6bn crowns compared to its previous forecast published on 12 May.

Hydrogen power solutions, battery technology, ocean windfarms and efforts to cut pollution from the shipping industry are among the potential beneficiaries.

“A temporary reduction in emissions as a consequence of lower activity doesn’t change the long-term challenge,” the government said in the policy document.

The whitepaper is the third major initiative by the government to boost the economy following a 12 March lockdown to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Norway in recent weeks lifted many coronavirus restrictions and will allow some cross-border business travel from 1 June.

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