Norwegian green energy fund criticised over low payouts

Enova, the state-owned enterprise tasked with helping homes invest in green energy-saving measures, has been criticised for not distributing enough financial support to households. 

Enova have reportedly paid out less than a third of the money it allocated for this year to help households save energy. Pictured is a row of houses in Oslo.
Enova have reportedly paid out less than a third of the money it allocated for this year to help households save energy. Pictured is a row of houses in Oslo. Photo by Nick Night on Unsplash

Private households in Norway pay out around 400 million kroner per year in fees to the Energy Fund, Enova uses to offer grants, funding and subsidies to homes and housing associations looking to save energy.  

Enova, in turn, has an agreement with the state whereby it has to make 300 million kroner in funding and support available to households. 

With just over a couple of months to go until the end of the year, the fund has handed out just over a third of that figure, public broadcaster NRK reported on Tuesday.

The firm also didn’t manage to spend the allocated funding last year either.

The Homeowners National Association and the Co-operative Housing Federation of Norway (NBBL) criticised Enova over the low payouts. 

 “When large sums are unused at the end of the year because you are unable to distribute them, then the support programs you have do not work,” Bård Folke Fredriksen, managing director of the NBBL, told NRK. 

READ ALSO: Are solar panels in Norway worth investing in for your home?

Morten Andreas Meyer, secretary-general of the Homeowners National Association, said the current system wasn’t working and said that homeowners funding benefited industrial companies rather than households. 

“Ordinary homeowners subsidise large support measures from Enova to the country’s largest industrial companies. That’s not how we want it,” Meyer said to NRK.

Environment and climate minister Espen Barth Eide defended the current system but acknowledged the issue of money being leftover and not being used as agreed.

“I do not think the people are wrong, nor do I have any basis for saying that there is anything wrong with Enova. But there is something wrong with this money being left behind,” he said to the public broadcaster. 

He also added that any leftover public money is transferred to next year’s pot for homeowners rather than spent elsewhere.

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Key mistakes to avoid when bidding on a house in Norway 

Norway's house bidding process is equally stressful and confusing, but before putting in an offer, you should make sure you aren't making any of these costly mistakes. 

Key mistakes to avoid when bidding on a house in Norway 

Buying a house is normally stressful enough, whether it’s getting a mortgage in place, going to dozens of viewings or spending hours going through listings. 

In Norway, the process is further complicated by the house bidding process, which you will have to go through when buying most properties today.

Additionally, you could make several mistakes that could make the process harder or cost you dearly. 


Not having financing in place

Before you can bid on a property, you need to visit the bank to ensure financing for your purchase. If you are taking out a mortgage on the house, you will need to make sure you know the set limit the bank will allow to borrow. 

When you make a bid, the estate agent will contact the bank to ensure that you have the financial arrangements. If you do not have enough money or the mortgage your bank agreed on doesn’t cover the cost, your bid will be rebuffed. 

Therefore it is crucial to know your financial limits when entering bidding rounds to avoid any disappointments. 

Making a bid on a house you aren’t sure about

You should be absolutely sure that you could see yourself living in a property when you bid on it. This is because bids in Norway are legally binding, meaning that even if you put in a speculative bid and it’s accepted, you won’t be able to back out.

This means that you should avoid putting in any offers on homes you aren’t 100 percent sure about.

So while you may be in a rush to get on the property ladder or take a step up, patience will prevail over diving in headfirst. 

Forgetting to do proper research

The devil is always in the detail, and as dull as it may be, you should always read the small print to avoid any nasty shocks. 

This is especially important when buying apartments in Oslo and other cities where you will likely encounter housing associations where residents will be expected to pay various fees or contribute to the upkeep of the block. 

“For instance, if they are planning to replace the roof of the block the next year, you will read about it in the sales documents. It is important to consider whether you can afford a property also after potential add-ons,” Trine Dahl-Pettersen, real estate agent at Eindom 1, explained to The Local

Reading the small print isn’t the only place where research pays off. For example, one reader who has bought a house in Norway pointed out that finding a place that needs a little bit of work can help you avoid intense bidding wars, and locals tend to want a ready-made home to move into. 

“Finding a property that won’t go sky high over the asking price when bidding can be challenging. However, I quickly noticed that Norwegians are not afraid to bid high for a ready-to-go home,” Scott told The Local of his experiences buying in Bergen. 

“If you are comfortable doing some work on it, you can find a much better deal, maybe even under the asking price,” he added.

Therefore, market research can help prevent you from paying over the odds. 

Making more than one bid at a time

Unfortunately, putting plenty of bids out and seeing which offers stick could be a lot more disastrous than you may think. 

As mentioned earlier, bids in Norway are legally binding. Meaning that if you have two bids accepted at the same time, you will be legally obligated to purchase both of them.

Not having BankID

Despite the bidding process being done over the phone, there are still some hoops to jump through. 

You’ll need to have a Norwegian Bank ID available for the bidding process, as it is needed to confirm your identity when sending your bids. 

Without this, you won’t be able to lodge any offers. 

In addition to bank ID, you will need a Norwegian identification number (D-number/Personnummer) to hand.