Norway, one of the world's top oil and gas producers, will double its national research fund for renewable energy to 20 billion kroner ($3.4 billion) in next year's national budget. The announcement was made yesterday by Norway's Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg at the first annual Scandinavian Renewable Energy Forum, held near Oslo.
Stoltenberg emphasized that already 60 percent of Norway’s total energy consumption comes from renewable energy (most of which comes in the farm of large-scale hydroelectric). That is far higher than any other European country, except Iceland. The European average is 8.5 percent.
Over the last three years Stoltenberg's Government has doubled the funding for investments in renewable energy and efficiency. According to the plan, Norway will double the capital in the Fund for Renewable Energy from 10 billions kroner to 20 billions, over the next year.
While governments throughout the industrialized west are struggling to pay their bills in the current economic crisis, Norway is able to make aggressive cash injections into their renewable energy fund.
Simply put, because the Norwegian government has a healthy revenue surplus from taxes on oil production. You see, only Saudi Arabia and Russia export more oil than Norway; high consumer confidence and strong investment spending in the offshore oil and gas sector contributed to a record high budget surplus in 2008.