Increased supply and access to clean and reliable energy enables economic growth, job creation, improved living standards and mitigates climate change.
Key Achievements in 2021
New capacity financed, 100% renewable
New households gained access to electricity
Although most developing countries have considerable solar, wind and hydropower resources, the power sector is largely underdeveloped in terms of installed capacity, access to energy and per capita consumption.
Investments in clean energy generation enable economic growth and job creation and mitigate climate change. Better, more reliable energy supplies, resulting in fewer and shorter outages, help foster job creation and economic growth as new businesses are established and productivity improves. Access to renewable energy is crucial for developing countries to grow out of poverty without exacerbating the climate crisis.
Contributing to increased access to electricity improves living standards by substituting other fuels and reducing indoor air pollution, providing access to quality lighting and electronic communication, and improving health care services, security and educational outcomes.
The World Bank has estimated a need for USD 900 billion in renewable energy investments by 2025 to meet the energy needs of developing countries.
The pandemic has also set back efforts to provide sustainable energy for all. In 2020 energy use fell by 4% due to pandemic effects on the world economy via lockdowns. In 2021 use recovered by 4.6%, rising above pre-pandemic levels. Still, according to the International Energy Agency, on our current policy trajectory around 660 million people will lack access to electricity in 2030. Most of them will be in Sub-Saharan Africa. This makes Norfund’s work in the region even more urgent.
Despite being home to 16% of the world’s population, Africa currently accounts for just 4% of global power supply investment. The demand for power in this region is expected to more than triple by 2040. Previous focus on renewable energy in Africa has largely been limited to publicly funded hydro power. The shift to privately financed renewables like wind and solar can deliver low-cost power to new regions, while also limiting carbon emissions. However, currently the generation of new, clean electricity is not expanding fast enough in high-risk and capital-constrained markets.
One of the key barriers to widening the deployment and diffusion of clean and renewable energy is the shortage of well-prepared, ‘bankable’ projects for investors. The journey from the planning and development of clean energy projects through to their implementation is complex and long. To ensure successful project completion, risk-tolerant and long-term investors, such as Norfund, are needed.
Historically, the majority of Norfund’s energy investments have been in hydropower, wind, and solar energy, and in utility scale, grid-connected power plants. However, in 2021 more than 50% of new commitments in Clean Energy were to distributed generation, i.e. smaller scale projects or off-grid solutions typically supplying power directly to the end-user. After the sale of SN Power in 2020, hydropower became a smaller part of the portfolio, and there will be a more diversified technology mix in the portfolio going forward. The sale of SN Power also meant that Asia now accounts for a smaller part of our energy portfolio, but we expect to see new investments in countries such as Vietnam, Indonesia and India.
Norfund’s strategy is to invest with – or via – industrial partners. Approximately 1,000 MWp of solar power has been financed in partnership with Scatec. Norfund has a 30% stake in Globeleq – one of Africa’s leading independent power companies currently having more than 1,500 MW of installed capacity, and another 700 MW in development. Following the sale of SN Power, we have a joint venture with Scatec to expand in hydropower in Africa. And in the distributed generation market, the 2021 investment into Fourth Partner Energy Ltd in India was one of the biggest transactions Norfund has ever done, at 100 million USD.
In the coming years, we will continue to increase Norfund’s portfolio in renewable power generation in our target markets, building on existing investment platforms and partnerships as well as working with new partners.
Norfund has defined the following ambitions for the strategy period 2019-2022:
- 5,000 MW new capacity, of which 4,000 MW is renewable
- 1.5 million households provided with access to electricity
Accumulated achievements 2019 – 2021
Investments and Results in 2021
committed in 2021
committed in total CE portfolio
1,578 MW increased energy supply
In 2021, Norfund financed 1,578 MW of new electricity generation capacity.
The total capacity in our portfolio was 7,225 MW, of which 1,385 MW is under construction. The power plants produced a total of 13.8 TWh of electricity, an amount equivalent to the combined annual electricity consumption of Tanzania, Botswana, and Namibia.
According to our estimates on indirect job creation, around 448,000 jobs were supported by the electricity produced by the power plants in Norfund’s portfolio in 2021.
100% of the new capacity financed was renewable in 2021
In 2021, 100 percent of the new capacity financed was renewable. A total of 5,709 MW of the capacity in our portfolio is renewable.
Together, the renewable power plants in our current portfolio produced 8.7 TWh electricity and have contributed to avoiding an estimated 4.5 million tonnes of CO2 emissions in 2021. This has been calculated using the harmonized IFI approach ‘Methodological Approach for the Common Default Grid Emission Factor Dataset’ (2022).
Investments per Region
CE Investments in 2021
Total CE Portfolio
Ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic
The ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are still being felt. As in 2020, access to personnel was sometimes limited. With construction being affected by lockdowns and illness some projects were delayed. In addition, the supply chain has not recovered. Facing a microchip shortage, the off-grid business sector, which relies on higher value products, was affected by consumers going back to more basic options for lighting and energy.
Highlights of 2021
New investee companies
Climate Investment Mandate
One of the most significant developments in 2021 was the announcement that Norfund would manage the new Climate Investment Mandate for Renewable Energy. “It is a great honour that the Norwegian Government gives Norfund this responsibility”, said CEO Tellef Thorleifsson.
"The growth in energy demand in developing countries is enormous”, explained Thorleifsson. “We have experience from the most relevant markets and a network of partners, and we are confident that we can put the capital to work effectively and in line with host country energy plans.”
One billion NOK of Norfund’s capital and one billion NOK from the state budget will be set aside annually over five years for a NOK 10 billion capital base.
The money will be administered by Norfund’s Clean Energy team, bringing an even greater emphasis on renewable energy with the mandate to combat climate change in Official Development Assistance countries.
Sale of SN Power
The sale of SN Power closed in early 2021, with Norfund selling the company to the Norwegian renewable energy company Scatec for 1.166 million USD. As part of the transaction, Scatec and Norfund agreed to establish a new joint venture for hydropower in Africa. Norfund also retained ownership of SN Power’s stakes in hydropower plants in Zambia and Panama. The sale released capital for reinvestment in renewable energy.
As investor in SN Power, Norfund was instrumental in developing hydropower projects in developing countries. SN Power plants produce power equivalent to the electricity consumption of 7 million people and help avoid 3 million tonnes of carbon emissions annually.
Growth in Globeleq
Globeleq is a leading independent power producer in Africa which develops, owns and operates power plants utilising various technologies across the African continent. The company is headquartered in London and has operations in South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Cote d’Ivoire and Cameroon. Norfund and CDC partnered to invest in Globeleq in 2015.
Two projects were under construction during 2021: Malindi Solar photovoltaic plant in Kenya and an expansion of Azito gas-fired power plant in Cote d’Ivoire.
In late 2021 Malindi was completed and started supplying power to the national grid in December 2021. The power plant is delivering enough clean and renewable power to supply approximately 250,000 residential customers and will avoid 44,500 tons of CO2-equivalent emissions annually.
Globeleq had two new projects reach financial close, both in Mozambique: The 450 MW Temane power plant, and the Cuamba solar/battery project. The company was also named as preferred bidder, together with Mainstream, for 1,400 MW of renewables in the South African renewable auction – a major milestone for the company.
In 2021 Globeleq paid a USD 15m dividend to Norfund.
Fourth Partner Energy – Enabling clean energy transition for India’s commercial and industrial businesses
Fourth Partner Energy is India’s leading distributed renewable energy company, focused on building and financing energy solutions for commercial & industrial businesses. In June 2021 Norfund committed 100 million USD, the largest Norfund investment to date in India. TPG’s RISE fund committed an additional 25 million USD alongside Norfund.
With an asset base of 850+ MW across both rooftop and ground-mounted solar installations – the firm is diversifying to offer customised clean energy solutions including wind-solar hybrid, floating solar, battery storage and EV charging infrastructure. Fourth Partner Energy is head-quartered in Hyderabad and has a pan-India presence with offices in 11 cities. The company has executed projects for over 150 marquee clients like Walmart, Unilever, Colgate Palmolive, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Skoda, Akzo Nobel, Schneider Electric, Ferrero, Mars, TCS and the Mahindra Group.
H1 partnership in South Africa
In late 2021 Norfund, together with Macquarie-managed UK Climate Investments, announced funding for a joint venture partnership between H1 Holdings and Pele Green Energy to develop wind power assets in South Africa. This is one of South Africa’s largest renewable energy equity deals valued at around 100 million USD. The investment will aim to accelerate South Africa’s transition to a low carbon economy.
The resulting projects will contribute to avoid an average of 2.2 million tonnes of CO2 emissions annually, or 43.8 million tonnes over the lifetime of the projects. That is equivalent to the emissions of half of the total number of cars in Norway.
In total Norfund committed 403 million NOK to the H1/Pele joint venture in 2021.
New partnerships and projects
In addition to supporting existing investees such as Globeleq, Serengeti Energy, M-Kopa and Greenlight Planet, in 2021 Norfund built new partnerships in hydropower, distributed solar and off-grid energy supply:
- In the Philippines Norfund committed 77 million NOK to the Kiangan hydropower project. This is a 17,5 MW hydropower plant in the Philippines being developed by the Japanese renewable energy company Renova and local partner Alternergy and St Clara International.
- In Vietnam a 360 million NOK equity commitment was made to Green Roof Asia, a distributed generation company. This investment was made in partnership with Climate Fund Managers and Shire Oak International.
- In Cambodia, Norfund participated in a syndicate to provide USD 30m of debt financing to the 78 MWp Prime Road solar power plant – one of the first utility scale solar projects in the country.
- Norfund provided a loan of 9 million EUR in co-operation with the debt fund Facility for Energy Inclusion (FEI – also a Norfund investee) to Aktivco, a subsidiary of Camusat Holding which provides energy service solutions to telecom towers owned by mobile network operators. AktivCo has incorporated five subsidiaries in Niger, Chad, Cote d'Ivoire, Cameroon, and Burkina Faso where the energy services are being provided.
- In the off-grid space, we made a 10 million EUR equity investment in Baobab+, the leading distributor of solar home systems in West Africa and Madagascar. Baobab+, a Pan-African group already present in Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Senegal and Madagascar, has equipped 220,000 households and served more than 1,200,000 beneficiaries in the past five years. This funding will allow the company to strengthen its presence in its existing countries and extend operations in Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Clean Energy portfolio
|Investment||Country||Investment year||Sector||Instrument||Owner share||Domicile||Committed (MNOK)|
|Agua Imara||Global||2021||Energy||Loans Equity||19%||Norway||893.5|
|Fourth Partner Energy||India||2021||Solar power||Equity||25%||India||879.8|
|H1 Pele SPV||South Africa||2021||Wind power||Loans||0%||South Africa||395.3|
|CN Green Roof Asia||Asia & Pacific||2021||Solar power||Equity||50%||Singapore||369.7|
|H1 Capital||South Africa||2021||Energy||Equity||25%||South Africa||199.1|
|SUSI Asia Energy Transition Fund (Through KNI)||Asia & Pacific||2021||Energy||Funds||19%||Luxembourg||67.4|
|Prime Road Solar||Cambodia||2021||Solar power||Loans||0%||Cambodia||36.0|
|Lobu Dolom HPP||Indonesia||2021||Hydropower||Loans||0%||Norway||8.8|
|Berkeley Energy Commercial & Industrial Solutions||Asia & Pacific||2020||Energy||Equity||24%||Singapore||241.5|
|Brighter Life Kenya 1||Africa||2020||Solar power||Loans||0%||Jersey||132.3|
|ESCOTEL||Africa||2020||Solar power||Loans Equity||31%||Mauritius||95.5|
|FEI - Facility for Energy Inclusion||Africa||2019||Energy||Funds||18%||Mauritius||176.5|
|Metier Sustainable Capital Fund II||Africa||2019||Energy||Funds||17%||Mauritius||175.3|
|Evolution Fund II (Through KNI)||Global||2019||Energy||Funds||14%||Mauritius||132.0|
|Greenlight Planet||Global||2019||Solar power||Loans||0%||Kenya||127.3|
|Schneider Electric Energy Access Asia||Asia & Pacific||2019||Energy||Funds||30%||France||63.2|
|Neo1 PV||Lesotho||2018||Solar power||Equity||21%||Lesotho||7.5|
|Serengeti Energy||Africa||2017||Hydropower||Loans Equity||26%||Mauritius||423.6|
|Yoma Micro Power||Myanmar||2017||Solar power||Loans Equity||15%||Singapore||93.3|
|Sunshine||America||2017||Solar power||Loans Equity||0%||Costa Rica||18.3|
|New Africa Power||Zambia||2017||Hydropower||Equity||29%||Mauritius||16.0|
|Scatec Mocuba||Mozambique||2016||Solar power||Loans Equity||11%||Mozambique||52.7|
|d.light||Global||2016||Solar power||Loans Equity||0%||United States of America||51.5|
|Scatec Solar Los Prados||Honduras||2015||Solar power||Equity||0%||Honduras||101.9|
|Scatec Upington||South Africa||2015||Solar power||Loans Equity||30%||Netherlands||71.1|
|Scatec Benban||Egypt||2015||Solar power||Equity||12%||Netherlands||58.5|
|Globeleq||Africa||2014||Energy||Loans Equity||30%||United Kingdom||2086.7|
|Scatec Solar Agua Fria||Honduras||2014||Solar power||Loans Equity||30%||Honduras||196.7|
|Scatec ASYV||Rwanda||2014||Solar power||Loans Equity||16%||Rwanda||34.6|
|Renewable Energy Holdings||South Africa||2014||Hydropower||Loans||0%||South Africa||17.9|
|Bio2Watt Cape Dairy||South Africa||2014||Biomass||Loans||0%||South Africa||5.7|
|Kinangop||Kenya||2013||Wind power||Equity||19%||British Virgin Islands||94.3|
|Bronkhorstspruit Biogas Plant||South Africa||2011||Biomass||Equity||11%||South Africa||25.5|