Press Release, Des 13, 2018

The report “Scandinavian Investments in Renewable Energy in Developing Countries” is written on behalf of the Zero Emission Resource Organization (ZERO), The Norwegian Solar Energy Cluster and Norfund. The purpose of the report was to assess the activity level among Scandinavian business communities related to investments in renewable energy, with a specific focus on developing countries, and to assess the effectiveness of the Scandinavian countries’ public support to commercial businesses in this space.

–In the struggle against climate change, one of the most important battles is over whether developing countries will base their growth out of poverty on fossil or renewable energy. The report shows that Norway is about to establish an important cluster of businesses investing in renewables in developing countries, and that interesting policies are in place also in Denmark and Sweden to help win this battle, says Marius Holm, CEO of the Zero Emission Resource Organization (ZERO).

–Access to reliable electricity is critical for economic growth, job creation and social development in poor countries. Norfund appreciates that a growing number of Scandinavian and international renewable energy actors show interest for developing countries and that they have experienced that it is possible do profitable and sustainable investments in these markets, says CEO Tellef Thorleifsson in Norfund.

Emerging green business cluster

One major finding is that the Norwegian businesses have characteristics of an emerging industrial ‘cluster’. In Norway, the combination of public support available to the private sector and the leadership represented by Norfund - and some other leading actors in Norway - have likely been one driving force in the emergence of the ‘cluster’.

A reason for the especially strong political emphasizes on renewable energy as a target area in Norway, is probably its long history, experience and competence in the area. This is considered to be especially relevant for partner countries. 

– Norway is developing a competitive advantage within renewable energy in developing countries. As for solar energy, this is the fastest growing energy source in the world in terms of installed capacity, and is a market we want to take part in. We therefore challenge the Norwegian government to take advantage of this opportunity to fight climate change, fight poverty and create sustainable jobs, all in one, says CEO Trine Kopstad Berentsen in The Norwegian Solar Energy Cluster.

Strong political emphasis and good support mechanisms are needed

Norway, Denmark and Sweden all offer relatively comprehensive suites of mechanisms and funding approaches to support international private sector development. However, the report concludes that Denmark and Sweden have better mechanisms in place for offering guarantees and reducing the investors risks. The Danish approach to business support provides an interesting example in considering portfolio risk instead of project specific risk, which allows higher-risk projects to access support.

–With the Danish Climate Investment Fund and most recently the Danish SDG Investment Fund, we have developed ground-breaking public–private partnerships, which have enabled IFU to scale up our investments in renewable energy in developing countries, said Reik Haahr Müller, VP, Climate Investments, Investment Fund for Developing Countries (IFU).

–The report shows that the engagement of Danish pension funds to invest in commercial projects in developing countries with a focus on energy, climate and infrastructure has been made possible and strengthened through the provision of guarantees to the funds’ investment. This is something the Norwegian government also ought to look into, says CEO Trine Kopstad Berentsen, in The Norwegian Solar Energy Cluster.

High potential for new sustainable and profitable investments

While public support has been a driving factor for the emergence of the Scandinavian renewable energy companies, the report states that it is likely that more could be achieved through innovative approaches, strengthened support for early phase development and business scaling, and better access to risk mitigation measures.

- This fall the Norwegian Parliament just asked the Government to consider a guarantee mechanism for
renewable energy in developing countries and present it to Parliament in the spring. We hope this will lay
the ground for a mechanism that can contribute to more investments, says Marius Holm, CEO of ZERO.

About the applicants

The Zero Emission Resource Organization (ZERO) is a Norwegian environmental organization dedicated to use Norway as a tool to create the biggest possible impact in stopping climate change.

The Norwegian Solar Energy Cluster consists of more than 80 industrial partners, major R&D institutions and regional and national public partners. The cluster aims to strengthen the Norwegian partners innovation capacity and competitiveness, and to supply both markets at home and abroad with clean, renewable and sustainable solar energy.

Norfund, the Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries, is the Norwegian government’s main instrument for combatting poverty through private sector development. The objective is to contribute to economic growth and job creation through sustainable investments in developing countries. Norfund provides equity and loans to companies in selected countries in Southern, Eastern and Western Africa, South-East Asia and Central America. With a portfolio of USD 2.4bn, Norfund invests in three main sectors: clean energy, financial institutions and agribusiness.

About the author
Multiconsult is one of the leading firms of consulting engineers and designers in Norway and Scandinavia, with close to 3000 permanent staff and expertise spanning a wide range of disciplines. Multiconsult’s 295 highly skilled consultants dedicated to the renewable energy sector provide consultancy and design services both in Norway and internationally. Working at the intersection between experience, research and development enables us to create efficient, sustainable energy solutions for the future.


Per Kristian Sbertoli, Head of Renewable Finace, +47 930 89 103
Marius Holm, CEO, +47 957 21 632

The Norwegian Solar Energy Cluster
CEO Trine Kopstad Berentsen,
Tel: +47 930 14 801/ E-mail :

Inger B-A Nygaard, kommunikasjonsansvarlig, Tlf: 47701248