April 5, 2019 Read More →

Norway tightens coal investment rules, expands renewable options for sovereign wealth fund

Bloomberg:

Norway plans to tighten restrictions on coal investments for its $1 trillion sovereign wealth fund while opening it up for renewable-energy infrastructure assets.

The government proposes to expand its coal ban by adding absolute caps on production of thermal coal, or its use in power generation, which would target big companies such as Glencore Plc, Anglo American Plc, BHP Group Ltd., RWE AG and Uniper SE. The current restrictions, introduced in 2015, have been criticized by politicians from opposition parties and environmental groups because their emphasis on relative thresholds mean miners and utilities with a big exposure to coal were left out.

The government proposed to keep the current rules excluding companies that base more than 30 percent of their revenues or activities on coal, while adding absolute limits of 20 million tons of coal for miners and 10,000 megawatts for power capacity.

To be sure, the current rules allow the fund to stay invested in a company in breach of the threshold if it has specific plans that would make it compliant at a later point, suggesting that could also be the case for the new restrictions. Norway’s coal ban has already led the fund to exclude 69 companies.

The Conservative-led government earlier resisted calls from several political parties and environmental activists to allow the fund to invest in renewable infrastructure, but said on Friday that expectations of significant future investments in these assets made the market interesting.

The government proposed a cap of 2 percent of the fund for renewable-energy infrastructure, and signaled that it would start out in developed markets only. It proposed doubling the upper limit on the so-called environment-related mandates to 120 billion kroner ($14 billion), it said in the statement.

More: Norway wealth fund to tighten coal ban, add green infrastructure

 

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