Support schemes for green and sustainable shipping in Norway
The Norwegian government has on several occasions reiterated how green solutions within shipping and the maritime industry are of high importance and its ambition that Norway should be front-runner in developments of green technology and low-emission solutions.
Considering the intensive capital requirements of going “green”, the availability of governmental supported funding will constitute an important contribution towards the maritime industry becoming a front-runner in this respect. In order to support the innovation and implementation of new operational measures and technology, the Norwegian Government has established support schemes to enhance the necessary financing of new projects.
Below is a short introduction to some of the main support schemes offered, as well as a brief introduction to the eligibility requirements and preconditions.
Innovation Norway is the Norwegian Government’s primary instrument for supporting innovation and development in Norwegian industry. In relation to the maritime industry Innovation Norway offers measures primarily directed at short sea shipping in Norwegian waters.
The funding support schemes include market loans through collaboration with commercial banks, innovation loans with less requirements for security and lower interest rates, monetary contributions for development of new technologies, deposit contributions in connection with scrapping of old ships, as well as installation grants for start-up companies. Innovation Norway also offers a two-phase “Environmental Technology Scheme” specifically directed towards commercialization, demonstrations and pilots. Such a scheme may be especially relevant for projects aiming to renew existing fleets with more environmentally friendly ships or implementing greener operational technology.
Funding is granted on the basis of an assessment of the extent of business value creation. The eligibility requirements include that the applicant company must be registered in Norway, and the relevant vessel must predominantly operate in Norwegian coastal waters.
Enova is a government enterprise with the object of reducing GHG emissions, strengthening the security of energy supply. This is done by supporting new energy and climate technology and helping it spread in the market. Enova manages the Norwegian Government’s Energy Fund which has a total annual budget of approximately NOK 2.5 billion, dedicated to support projects promoting these objectives.
For the maritime sector, Enova offers several different aid programmes primarily directed at companies seeking to develop and/or implement sustainable environmental measures, but lacking the necessary profitability to obtain funding through traditional channels.
Eligible projects include those seeking to develop or make use of technologies associated with energy-efficient physical equipment, such electric propulsion, hybrid solutions and propulsion systems, as well as measures seeking to optimize cargo-handling, ventilation, and so on.
Funding is limited to ships that are registered in the Norwegian International Ship registry or the Norwegian Ordinary Ship Registry, and the relevant ships must conduct a significant part of their operations in Norwegian territory or within the Norwegian Economic Zone. Other essential pre-conditions relate to aid intensity, market diffusion, energy consumption, technology maturity etc., All programmes and criteria are described on Enova’s website www.enova.no.
With a view to reducing emissions from hazardous and harmful nitrogen oxides (NOx), Norway imposes a tax on NOx emissions. The NOx Fund is an exception scheme from such taxation by way of an agreement entered into between The Ministry of Climate and Environment and 15 NGOs representing businesses subjected to the NOx emissions tax. The agreement sets forth that companies subject to the NOx tax regime may elect to pay a membership fee to the NOx Fund instead of paying NOx tax to the Norwegian state. The fund in turn grants financial support to companies subject to the NOx tax regime for the implementation of emission reduction measures.
The agreement has a duration of eight years from 2018, and is the third in a series of agreements where industry commits itself to reducing its NOx emissions. Financial support from the fund is granted for technical installations intended to optimize existing and new emission sources. The support scheme includes both measures that reduce the NOx factor (NOx emissions per consumed energy unit) and measures that reduce energy consumption by increasing energy efficiency. Examples include implementation of equipment for measuring emissions, use of LNG to replace fuel, and replacement of catalyst elements.
GIEK, the Norwegian Export Credit Guarantee Agency, offers guarantees to expand loan and credit volumes for Norwegian maritime exporters and their customers through close collaboration with Export Credit Norway and Norwegian and foreign commercial banks.
The relevant guarantees offered are capable of covering greener and more sustainable vessels and equipment built in Norway or abroad, provided there is significant Norwegian content (Generally, a minimum 30 percent of the relevant contract must provide for Norwegian goods, services or other value creation). GIEK also offers to fund transactions involving second-hand sales and retrofits, hereunder projects aimed at improving and modernizing the sustainability of existing fleets and implementation of new equipment optimizing environmental protection.
In support of the above-mentioned projects, GIEK offers debt financing of up to 80 percent of the sales contract value, and can guarantee against up to 90 percent of commercial risk and up to 100 percent of the political risk. This presupposes participation by a commercial bank or financial institution, and that such entity assumes risk on similar terms.
When GIEK considers whether to grant funding, attention will be given to factors such as experience of the parties, collateral, contract robustness, profitability and earnings. A financing agreement where GIEK guarantees 70 percent of the loan and participates with 30–40 percent equity is most common.
By continuing to provide long term financial support to the maritime sector through the support schemes mentioned above, the Norwegian Government adopts a collaborative approach seeking to enhance the development of new technology and operational changes so that the maritime industry in turn may become capable of achieving the goal of shipping sustainability.