Clean Energy

Norfund invests in Clean Energy to increase energy access and supply in developing countries

11 888
MNOK

total portfolio of Clean Energy

1 010
MW

new generation capacity financed in 2019

454 000

new connections provided to households in 2019

Why Invest in Clean Energy?

Lack of access to energy is a key constraint for businesses in low-income countries. 600 million people lack access to electricity in Sub-Saharan Africa. Clean, reliable and affordable energy is essential for business activity and job creation and helps mitigate climate change.

The journey from the planning and development of clean energy projects to their implementation is long and complex. Therefore, patient and risk-tolerant investors, such as Norfund, are needed to ensure commercial success.

Our Ambitions

In our strategy 2019-2022, our defined ambitions are:

1,5
MILLION

new households with access to electricity by 2022

5 000
MW

new capacity financed, whereof 4000 MW renewable by 2022

What We Invest in

Clean Energy constitutes about half of our portfolio. The majority of the investments are medium to large scale, grid-connected power plants in

  • Hydropower
  • Wind Power
  • Solar Power

We acknowledge that not all developing countries will develop a stable national grid in the near future. Also, costs and technologies are changing, and new opportunities are emerging for businesses, rural communities and households. In response, Norfund has begun to invest in off-grid projects and other business models providing distributed solutions.

Where We Invest

Norfund invests in countries where we can have the greatest impact. We prioritise investments in Least Developed Countries and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Commitments by Region as of 2019 (MNOK)

Energy Types

Wind Power

Wind power has experienced considerable cost reduction in the past few years.  Norfund participated in funding the development and construction of the 310 MW Lake Turkana wind park and has also invested in 165 MW via Globeleq and part-financed a number of other wind projects as lender.

Hydropower

Norfund’s hydropower portfolio is dominated by medium to large projects through SN Power. Such projects provide renewable power and help stabilize the grid. In addition, we are building a series of partnerships for small-scale hydropower in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia.

Solar Power

Solar power has experienced dramatic cost reductions over the past few years, with expectations of more to come. To date, Norfund has invested in ca. 1000 MWp of solar power with our partner Scatec Solar, a further 270 MWp via Globeleq and has part-financed an additional 7 solar power plants via the debt syndicate Interact Climate Change Facility. In many of our countries, solar power represents the lowest cost option for providing additional energy to the grid.

Gas

Many renewable technologies, such as wind and solar power, have variable production and are dependent on the weather. To stabilize the grid, other reserve and balancing power sources are required. Together with hydropower, gas-fired power plants can provide such services. Natural gas is a domestic resource in many African countries with lower emissions than other fossil fuel sources. Many countries have a policy to utilize their natural gas resources locally, with the power sector being an anchor use.

Business Models

Grid-Connected Electricity Supply

Norfund invests in medium to large scale grid-connected power plants, primarily with or via industrial partnerships such as SN Power, Globeleq and Scatec Solar.  In recent years we have seen the costs of solar and wind power drop dramatically, strengthening the transition to renewables. Many of Norfund’s investments are in coal-intensive countries, where new renewable energy plants help reduce host countries’ greenhouse gas emissions.

Off-Grid Electricity Supply

With cost reductions for solar power and batteries, off-grid power supply is an increasingly cost-effective solution for rural communities. Two business models are emerging: establishment of mini-grids for rural communities, and household solar products typically provided on a pay-go financed solution. Norfund has invested in both these business models, as well as provided loans to some of the more mature home solar provider companies, and supporting private equity funds providing debt to this segment.

Distributed Generation

Technology change is driving new opportunities and business models in the energy sector. Increasingly, commercial and industrial users are looking towards captive power, i.e. “behind the meter” solutions. In addition, off-grid and mini-grid solutions provide households and communities with alternative solutions to grid connection. Norfund has defined distributed generation as a focus area and is a leading investor in this rapidly changing and challenging market.  

Captive Power Solutions

Captive power solutions provide power directly to a consumer, typically on or nearby that consumer’s site. Rooftop solar is a typical example, although larger-scale ground mounted solutions are increasingly common. Norfund has invested in several start-ups in this area and provided loans to more mature companies.

What We Offer

Norfund is an active minority investor. We offer risk capital through equity, loans and funds to companies that meet our requirements.

To maximise commercial and developmental success, Norfund strives to be a value adding owner beyond the capital investment. Norfund’s investment teams have extensive experience in project development and governance and work closely with the partners to develop the companies. Norfund takes a position as an active owner and requires the right for a board seat in equity investments. With more than 20 years' experience of investing in developing countries, Norfund continuously builds and develops the expertise needed to invest and manage risks in order to succeed as an investor.

Existing Partnerships

Norfund invests with or via partners to benefit from their knowledge and expertise. We prefer to partner with large, well-known and respected industrial companies with a local presence and a long-term horizon, whose interests align with those of Norfund.

Globeleq is one of Africa’s leading independent power companies. Globeleq builds power generation plants with solar, wind and gas as fuel sources. The company is owned by Norfund and CDC (the British development finance institution). Through Globeleq, Norfund and CDC aim to install 5,000 MW of new electricity capacity in Africa over the next decade.

SN Power is a hydropower company established in 2002 by Norfund and Statkraft. The company contributes to economic growth and poverty reduction through enabling increased access to renewable, stable energy for businesses in developing countries. Since 2017, Norfund has been the sole owner of SN Power and has enabled SN Power to focus more strongly on greenfield developments in Sub-Saharan Africa and in specific countries in South East Asia.

Scatec Solar is an integrated independent solar power producer focused in developing countries. The partnership provides a framework for collaborative project development and joint investments. As partners, Scatec Solar and Norfund have contributed to the realization of ca 1000 MWp of solar PV projects in Africa and in Central America.

KLP is Norway’s largest life insurance company is an important strategic financial partner for Norfund. Since 2013, KLP and Norfund have co-invested in several financial institutions and renewable energy projects in developing countries, mainly in Africa.

Head of Clean Energy department: