Discussion post This is an introduction to the discussion, written by an external contributor. The publication expresses the opinions of the writer.
The government’s proposal for the state’s general budget Grants a record low allocation to one of the most important grant programs for environment and climate-related innovation: the Ecotechnology System. Reducing reduces the chances of success in the green transition, and we believe in innovation in Norway.
Compared to the years before the Corona crisis, the environmental technology scheme has been reduced by approximately NOK 150 million. The 2024 budget proposal continues at the record low level – without adjusting rates.
Last year’s figures show that 85 companies received a total of NOK 528 million from the scheme. 35 percent of the beneficiaries were start-up companies (i.e. less than 5 years old). Businesses of all sizes can access support from the scheme, and in 2022, 65% of beneficiaries were small or medium-sized businesses, while the remainder were large businesses. Therefore, it is an arrangement that moves the entire business world in the right direction.
This reduction comes at a time when the need to invest in green technology and sustainable solutions is greater than ever. It is difficult then to understand that the scheme that leads to the development of new environmental and climate technology and contributes to the development of business throughout the country should be curtailed.
There are significant costs associated with testing new technology. Support through the Eco-Technology Scheme therefore reduces the risks faced by companies contributing to green solutions in Norway. There is a great need for such risk mitigation.
The Environmental Technology Scheme targets businesses across the country, and in most industries. In short, the program targets companies that must provide solutions that contribute to solving a major environmental problem. Since 2010, this has been one of the most successful Norwegian Innovation schemes.
The grant can provide support for new solutions aimed at addressing climate challenges such as renewable energy and energy efficiency, zero-emission transportation solutions, energy storage and energy systems, and water and air purification technology. The scheme also includes possible solutions to environmental challenges in individual industries and to new circular solutions that extend the life of a product and use what were previously waste materials as an input factor into another production.
Hayek and Søgbrüg
At Östfold, we have many good examples of companies that have received eco-technology grants which have thus enabled the implementation of important development projects for a more sustainable future. In Fredrikstad, the company behind the autonomous electric ferries, Hydrolift AS, received a grant from this scheme at an early stage of development.
Borregaard AS in Sarpsborg has received environmental technology grants to develop new environmentally friendly biochemicals. In Halden, we have Esmart Systems AS and Norske Skog Saugbrugs AS as examples of companies that have received this support. The first company offers a sustainable solution for the inspection of high-voltage power lines, while Norske Skog Saugbrugs AS has, among others, developed a biocomposite using recycled plastic.
These are the solutions Norway needs more of, but Innovation Norway now faces the risk of being unable to fund fewer of them.
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