Odd Roger Enoksen, Norway’s minister of petroleum and energy, has announced a NOK 20B (US$3.2B) government investment fund to boost renewable energy generation over the next three years.

The fund, backed by the three party coalition government, will support small scale hydro, biomass, wind, and increased energy efficiency.

The programme, double the current level, will commence from 1 January 2007 with NOK 10B (US$1.6B) with another NOK 10B (US$1.6B) on 1 January 2009.

The state-owned agency Enova will manage the yield from the fund, estimated to be about 4% or NOK 800M (US$128.3M) annually when the fund reaches NOK 20B (US$3.2B).

Enova will also expand district heating infrastructure, and stimulate energy efficiency and heating based on renewable energy in the household sector.

The design of the support systems is due to be presented to parliament in October for inclusion in the state budget for 2007.

‘This is an ambitious move which confirms Norway’s position as a leading nation within the development of renewable energy. The initiatives will contribute to strengthening the security of energy supply in Norway, and it’s a considerable contribution to reaching the government’s target of a more environmentally friendly and diverse energy system,’ Enoksen said in a statement.

Norway aims to increase production of renewable energy by 30TWh between 2001 and 2016.