Considerable investments are needed to meet the rising demand for electricity. In Sub-Saharan Africa, lack of access to energy is a major constraint for the establishment and growth of small- and medium-sized businesses. 

Electricity consumption per capita

Funding from multilateral development banks and bilateral DFIs is usually crucial, as the credit ratings for clean energy projects in poor countries often are below investment grade, deterring international investors. DFIs also play a role in helping pioneer investments in the energy sector to demonstrate their financial viability and to catalyse further investments from the private sector.

 

Norfund's strategy

Norfund contributes to improving access to reliable electricity by investing in electricity generation where the need for capital is large. Clean energy is Norfund's largest business area and constitutes about half of the portfolio.

While hydropower has dominated the energy portfolio until recently, solar and wind energy have become more competitive and account for an increasing portion of the portfolio. 

Norfund

Norfund’s strategy is to invest with – or via – industrial partners. The competence we have built up in these long-term partnerships have been essential to Norfund's success.

Norfund's platforms

 

In the hydropower sector, we have continued our partnership with Statkraft in the 50/50 joint venture with SN Power.

Approximately 250 MWp of solar power has been built with Scatec Solar, and further significant growth is expected.

In 2015, we acquired a 30% stake in Globeleq, one of Africa’s leading independent power companies.

Norfund is also prioritising small-scale hydropower and off-grid solutions and expects to establish new partnerships in both in 2016 and beyond. 

Energy-oriented PE funds or financial intermediaries for energy projects will not be prioritised.

 

Geographical priorities

Norfund prioritises investments in countries classified as least developed countries (LDCs) and countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.  92% of Norfund's new clean energy investments in 2015 were made in Africa. Of the total clean energy portfolio, 37% is in Africa.

Clean energy geographical distribution

 

Clean Energy vs. Renewable Energy

Norfund distinguishes between the concepts "clean energy", which is the name of the Norfund investment department and covers the whole energy portfolio, and "renewable energy", which only covers energy based on renewable sources. The difference is largely accounted for by investments in gas-fired power plants in East and West Africa. 

 

Example investments