2023-02-07 15:17News

7 February 2023

NGN banner

Norway’s sovereign wealth fund warns directors to tackle climate crisis or face sack

The world's largest investment fund, Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), has warned company directors to take action on the climate crisis or face the consequences. NBIM, which manages NOK 13 tn of funds, will vote against directors who fail to tackle the issue. 

Carine Smith Ihenacho, the chief governance and compliance officer of NBIM said. “We have stepped up our expectations towards the companies when it comes to setting targets to get to that net zero [emissions] by 2050 target. And we will push the companies more in setting targets and understanding how they’re going to get there.” NBIM expects all large carbon emitters to set emissions targets now, and all other smaller companies to have done so no later than 2040. She noted “We also want companies to publish scenarios including [what happens if temperatures rise by] 1.5C so we can actually understand how they are going to get there.” She said only 17% of the more than 9,000 companies that the fund invests in had set “clear science-based net zero targets”, and the fund is actively “pushing” the remaining 83% to act fast to set their targets. She added “If the companies are totally unresponsive to what we say, we have to step up ... “What we’ve done so far for, let’s say, the worst companies – those that don’t even have any targets, no reporting around climate risk – we have started to vote against the board as we say the board is really accountable for this.”

The Guardian 

Processing of renewable energy projects suspended in Denmark

Under existing Danish open-door procedures, renewable energy developers send an unsolicited application for a project. But now, the open-door procedure has been put on hold by the Energy Agency (Energistyrelsen) as it may be in breach of EU laws. The suspension will last until further investigation has been done on the potential breach. 

The suspension covers 33 offshore wind projects which were being processed. Green Power Denmark, the Danish industry's interest group, believes the suspension is completely unnecessary and delays the green transition. The climate, energy and supply minister, Lars Aagaard (M), says, “this is a serious situation” and is frustrated by the explanation provided for the suspension. A number of other developers and stakeholders have declared their frustration.

EnergiWatch, Berlingske, Msn, EnergyIslandNews, Press Release

Statkraft digitising hydro power plant 

Statkraft’s Smartplant Hydro project in Ivarsfors aims to digitise hydropower and make it more efficient and profitable using advanced IT solutions such as Cloud, IoT, AI, Machine Learning and Digital Twin. The Ivarsfors hydropower plant will act as a test environment where these IT solutions can be developed. The project is being done in collaboration with Sweco and Microsoft. 

The project will create a digital platform that allows the operation and monitoring of hydropower plants to be managed remotely, increasing efficiency, reducing travel and increasing staff safety. The first stage of the project focuses on making small hydropower plants more efficient, with a goal to develop IT solutions that are scalable and can be applied to various types of power plants. 

Press Release

Modvion raises SEK 125 million to commercialise wooden wind turbines

Modvion, a Gothenburg-based wood technology company, develops and manufactures wooden wind turbine towers that are more environmentally friendly than steel or concrete towers. Vestas, Almi Invest Greentech, the European Commission’s EIC Fund, Course Corrected VC and Symbia VC have jointly invested SEK 125 million in Modvion latest funding round. The capital will be used to take Modvion’s wood wind turbine towers to the market.

Using wood reduces emissions by 90% compared to steel tower production and makes towers carbon negative, as wood binds more CO2 than it emits during production. Modvion’ s towers are also built in modules, which can be transported easily, making them more cost effective as tower height increases. By 2050, towers over 150m are expected to make up half of installations to meet energy demand. At higher altitudes the wind blows more and therefore a more stable and larger amount of electricity can be produced. 

Press Release, EnergiWatch

Equinor and SSE Renewables look to expand offshore wind farm

Equinor and SSE Renewables are exploring the possibility of adding a fourth phase (Dogger Bank C) to the world’s largest offshore wind farm, Dogger Bank, located off the coast of Yorkshire in the UK. Phases A, B and C of Dogger are planned to be complete in 2026 and will have a total capacity of 3.6 GW. The proposed phase D will add an additional capacity of 1.32 GW. 

Phase D will possibly be located in the eastern zone of Dogger Bank C and therefore optimise energy production in Dogger Bank C, more than doubling area utilisation. This is in line with Equinor’s strategy to develop offshore wind projects in clusters, says Halfdan Brustad, director of Dogger Bank in Equinor. The project will require approval from UK authorities and will depend on an agreement with The Crown Estate, a British state-owned company. 

Press Release

Quantafuel’s first plastic recycling plant in UK approved

The Sunderland City Council has approved the construction of Quantafuel’s Plastic-to-Liquid (PtL) plant in the Port of Sunderland in the UK. Quantafuel is a Norwegian company and its long term goal is to build a series of plastic recycling plants across the UK. 

The Sunderland plant will process mixed plastic waste from northern England that would have gone to incineration or landfills and is expected to reduce CO2 emission by 70% compared to incineration. The plant will be powered by self-generated gas. Moreover, the plant is expected to create 100 permanent jobs and be operational in 2025. The raw materials produced in the plant will be in turn used to produce new, high-quality plastic products.

CleantechWatch, Press Release

Danish companies to explore CO2 storage in the North Sea

TotalEnergies has been given two licences to explore CO2 storage potential in the Danish North Sea. The licences will allow TotalEnergies and partner, the state-owned Nordsøfonden, to plan a project that could transport and permanently store more that five million tons of CO2 per year. This would be done by repurposing existing infrastructure and building new facilities in the Danish North Sea.

Press Release

Biolan opens biofiber factory today in Finland  

Biolan, a Finnish waste company, opens a biofiber plant in Eura, Finland, which aims to reduce peat usage by offering two sustainable fibre alternatives. The alternatives are a wood fibre and fibre created from a wood and peat mixture. 

Biolan's product development director, Hannamaija Fontell, claims they have created a unique manufacturing process and unique products, which are not produced anywhere else in the world. “The new production facility is a big investment for the future for us. We don't expect short-term profits.”, adds Teppo Rantanen, Biolan’s CEO. 

Press Release, Alasatakunta

New report highlights hydrogen potential in Finnish aviation

According to a recent report by the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency (Traficom), Finland has good conditions for developing a partially hydrogen-based energy system in air traffic in the long term. The report highlights that hydrogen and synthetic fuel refined from it have the most potential for reducing the climate impact of air traffic. However, considerable product and infrastructure development needs to occur and challenges addressed before this becomes a reality. 

The report also points out that hydrogenation and electrification can mean that a new type of air traffic can be born in Finland, where there is both battery-powered and hydrogen-based air transport.

Press Release

What we’re reading
  • Europe to Begin Debate on 2040 Climate Targets in Green Overhaul (Bloomberg)
  • Brussels response to US green push falls short, says top official (Financial Times)
  • US states offer their own green subsidies in bid to lure investment (Financial Times)


About Nordic Green News

The Nordic countries are some of the most dynamic and successful economies in the world. They are also leaders in sustainability, from renewable energy, biofuels, carbon capture and storage and the hydrogen economy, circular economy business models and battery development, the Nordics are pioneers in policy design, technology development and consumer uptake. Mundus Nordic Green News is covering this transition for the international community. Every day we curate the stories of most relevance to international businesspeople and policy experts from the flow of news. Mundus Nordic Green Indices summarise the meta-data from our daily coverage to enable easy tracking of trends. We supplement these with our own opinion pieces and commentary.