4 Jul 2011

Åkerholm in Almedalen: Green growth is a gold mine

"Green growth is a gold mine—if one finds the right vein," said NIB President and CEO Johnny Åkerholm, speaking today in Almedalen in Visby, Sweden.

However, there is a lot of work ahead to find the gold. One problem is that relative prices do not give the right guidance and incentives for action. If no price is placed on emissions, or the price is too low, outlays targeted to reduce emissions are seen as costs and not as investments.

International cooperation is a prerequisite in order to reach required volumes and to avoid disturbances in competitive positions of different players.

"We can also see that emerging economies with their huge energy needs are investing in non-Green technologies. Generally, they do not seem to be forecasting any big structural change," Mr Åkerholm added.

With their experience and shared values, the Nordic countries could strengthen their contribution in two areas. First, they should more actively strive to have their voice heard when the guidance for markets is being formulated globally. Second, research and development is a strong Nordic asset in this field.

NIB has launched a special facility, CLEERE, to finance climate-related projects. In three years, EUR 2 billion has been committed to projects aimed at promoting renewable energy, energy efficiency and other measures of abating and adapting to climate change. In June this year, NIB expanded the facility to three billion.

"We are extending the climate lending facility in response to a strong demand for long-term financing to eligible projects in this area," says Johnny Åkerholm, NIB President and CEO.

Within the CLEERE framework, NIB has provided loan financing to 64 environmental projects, including the launch of the offshore windmill farm Horns Rev II, a solar-grade silicon factory in Norway, the first waste-to-energy power plant in the Baltic countries, and the expansion of the public transport network in Helsinki.

Mr Åkerholm spoke at an event NIB arranged together with the Nordic Council of Ministers. Other participants included Alexander Stubb and Ewa Björling, ministers responsible for Nordic cooperation in Finland and Sweden.