NORWAY’S government is to allow the country’s £1 trillion sovereign oil fund to invest billions in renewable energy.

The country with a similar population to Scotland has an oil fund equivalent to £200,000 per person. Called the Government Pension Fund Global, it is the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world.

Previously the fund was limited to invest only in proven renewables but now the Norwegian government says it will allow more than £10 billion to be invested in unlisted renewable energy infrastructure developments.

That could be very good news for Scotland, given our lead in developing tidal and wave power and our existing strong links to Norway in the renewables sector ...

In a statement, the Norwegian Government said that such investments shall be subject to the same profitability and transparency requirements as the other investments of the fund, which is already disinvesting in fossil fuels, according to Norway’s Minister of Finance Siv Jensen.

He said: “The market for renewable energy is growing rapidly. A major part of the renewable energy investment opportunities is found in the unlisted market, especially in unlisted infrastructure projects. Expectations of significant investments going forward mean that this market is of interest to institutional investors such as the Government Pension Fund Global.

“The government is now allowing for the Government Pension Fund Global to be invested in unlisted renewable energy infrastructure. The investments shall be made within the scope of the special environment-related mandates only.”

Jensen added: “The proposed regulation will enable Norges Bank to adopt a gradual approach in a relatively small market and to invest in a cost-effective manner.

“Norges Bank has stated that it will proceed with caution and start out by considering investments with partners in developed markets, and in projects with relatively low operational and market risk.”

Population of Dublin to soar after Brexit

The National: Dublin could see a population up to 11.5% biggerDublin could see a population up to 11.5% bigger

BREXIT’S effects on the Irish economy could see the population of Dublin City rise by more than 64,000 over the next three years, a study has found.

Greater Dublin has a population of just under two million but the central area, Dublin City, has a population of around 555,000 according to the 2016 census.

Ireland has seen steady immigration of around 34,000 people a year, and many of these migrants head for the nation’s capital which already has a serious housing problem that will only worsen, with some experts predicting that the population of greater Dublin will rise to 2.2m by 2031.

Now a study by Future Analytics Consulting, on behalf of Dublin City’s Housing Observatory, has predicted that the population of Dublin City alone could rise by between 7.5% and 11.5% depending on the nature of Brexit – most experts predict a hard Brexit will be disastrous for the Irish economy.

According to a report in the Irish Independent newspaper, if the same trend extends to the full Dublin area, including Fingal, South Dublin and Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown, the number of people added to the region by 2022 versus the 2016 census would be more than 150,000.

Professor William Hynes, director of Future Analytics Consulting, said: “The findings to date have really brought to light the importance of understanding migration as a key component of population change, particularly given Ireland, by its nature, is a small, open but globally connected economy.”

According to the Irish Independent, in the years between 2011 and 2016, Dublin City added 27,000 residents, so the numbers being discussed in today’s report would, if they panned out, represent a huge expansion for a city that does not build enough houses for the current population.

Estonia hails president of Latvia in state visit

The National:

THEY may have been free from Soviet rule for less than 30 years and have a combined population some two million less than Scotland, but the Baltic countries of Latvia and Estonia know how to conduct themselves as nation states.

A full state visit by the president of Latvia to Estonia got under way yesterday and will last until tomorrow.

The two countries enjoy good relations and the state visit is being seen as a way of enhancing their cooperation on matters such as their economies and defence, the latter being an important mutual concern given their proximity to Russia.

The president of Latvia, Raimonds Vejonis (pictured above), and the first lady of Latvia, Iveta Vejone, are undertaking an extensive programme of visits and talks in the Estonian capital of Tallinn as well as the cities of Paide, and Tartu.

Among the visits president Vejonis will undertake are a “drop in” to see the important cyber defence exercise Locked Shields.

A team of nearly 40 cyber security experts, led by the NATO Communications and Information Agency, is taking part in Locked Shields 2019, the world’s largest live-fire cyber exercise.

Estonia is one of the world’s most advanced digital economies, and the exercise to be visited by the Latvian president tests the country’s – indeed the whole of NATO’s – preparedness for a cyber attack from whatever source could mount one.

The office of the president of Estonia stated: “The state visit to Estonia is aimed at strengthening bilateral political, economic, educational, and cultural cooperation.”