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Norway's Biggest Oil Fund Turns to Renewables

08 Apr 14:00 by Steve Walia

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Norway, which owns the world's biggest sovereign wealth fund, is planning to invest billions of dollars from its $1 trillion oil assets into solar and wind power projects. The news comes shortly after Saudi Arabia confirmed that its sovereign oil fund would be selling off its remaining gas and oil assets.

A number of other national investment funds which have grown through oil-based assets are also expected to begin buying into renewables more heavily. Research shows that nations which became wealthy through fossil fuel investments are now diversifying and looking for clean energy profits as part of the move towards a more sustainable economy.

These investments, say analysts, are also likely to boost the growth of green energy at a faster rate. The Norwegian government has approved investments in renewables that aren't listed on the stock market. These unlisted projects comprise over 66% of the total renewables market. This green energy market is vast and worth trillions.

Previously, there have been fears about the political angle of green investments. However, the amount that the fund is now able to invest in green energy projects has been increased to $14 billion. Storebrand Asset Management’s CEO, Jan Erik Saugestad, said that even an oil-heavy fund could see that the future was in renewables.

The fund said last month that it was planning to divest 134 investments in gas and oil companies, to the total value of nearly $8 billion, following a broader trend that is being seen worldwide. However, it will retain stakes in businesses such as BP and Shell which have renewable divisions.

Norway also said that the fund will be divesting in further coal company firms, which could include RWE and Glencore. It sold off $6.5 billion of coal investments in 2015.