Fresh Snow climate investing for a green future
“Nysnø invests in companies that provide profitable and smart solutions to the challenges of climate change,” says the website of Nysnø Klimainvesteringer, a state-owned investment firm established in 2018 to help combat climate change. These days they are making efforts to ensure that as few people as possible are affected by the coronavirus. Since March 13, all employees have worked from home. The Stavanger headquarters is closed to visitors. The investment fund can be reached via email, phone, and video meetings. They are up to date on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter as they continue to invest in profitable climate technologies.
Nysnø wants to help Norway reach its ambitious goals: reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% from 1990 levels by 2030, and further reducing emissions to levels where they are not contributing to harmful global warming by 2050.
With its headquarters in Stavanger, the wholly state-owned fund is administered through the Ownership Department of the Ministry of Trade and Fisheries. In its first year the fund had contracts with 300 companies and funds who were looking for investors.
So far, they have invested in five companies.
Otovo of Oslo, a startup founded in January 2016, provides homeowners with immediate quotes for rooftop-mounted solar panels for their house. They algorithmically platform bids for the projects. Before the first year was up, Otovo was a market leader in sales of solar cells to private homes.
The second company Nysnø has invested in is eSmart Systems, based in Halden. The company “creates artificial intelligent solutions to accelerate the transition to a sustainable future, by developing innovative technology for the energy market,” according ot their website. They employ drone software to detect rust and perform other inspections of power lines and other energy infrastructure. Since 2012, the company has grown rapidly and currently consists of almost 80 employees with offices in Norway, Denmark, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
The third company is Disruptive Technologies in Bergen, creator of postage-stamp-sized sensors with 15-year battery life, which Nysnø’s website says have many applications that can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The company is involved in the smart building sector. They also work with Hafslund and other Norwegian grid companies to equip the Norwegian power grid with wireless sensors.
The fourth company is Oslo-based NorSun, which, according to its website, is a “Norwegian solar energy company that manufactures and markets high-performance mono-crystalline Silicon ingots and wafers for the global solar energy industry.” Last year, the company closed a NOK 230 million equity round to increase their production capacity, introduce new technologies and significantly reduce unit costs.
A fifth, ZEG Power, established in 2008 by the Institute for Energy Technology, “supplies technology that enables efficient production of hydrogen from hydrocarbon gas with integrated carbon capture,” according to Nysnø.
In January, Nysnø made their first international investment of NOK 140 million in the Canadian venture fund ArcTerm Ventures II. The fund is a global leader and will invest in North America and Europe. It will now open its European headquarters in Oslo.
In discussing their headquarters in Norway, Nysnø’s website says that “Norway has a unique competitive advantage in a greener future,” with “vast amounts of natural resources and easy access to clean energy,” backed by “solid government finances and a well-developed finance industry.” Furthermore, it says, Norway’s long history with the oil and shipping industries has given the country extensive technological experience.
Believe it or not, engineers are relatively inexpensive in Norway. And Nysnø celebrates that “technological competence in the Norwegian population is high, and Norwegians enthusiastically embrace new technology. It is a stable democracy that benefits from a high level of trust, and it has a solid reputation as an environmental nation. This gives [Norway] an excellent starting point for making a difference globally.” As Prime Minister Erna Solberg says, “We need more climate profiteers!”
This article originally appeared in the June 12, 2020, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.