• 10 Jun 2021
    10:00 - 11:15

    Helsinki Energy Challenge: what alternatives to decarbonise heating systems

    Organiser: Covenant of Mayors office

    The City of Helsinki aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2035. Currently, more than half of the city’s emissions originate from heating. Due to the cold climate, the heat demand in Helsinki is significant and has a strong correlation to outdoor temperatures. Today, more than half of the city’s district heat is produced with coal and more than 30% with natural gas. Helsinki is committed to decarbonising its heating system and is, like many other cities, in need of radically new solutions to meet its heat demand and carbon neutrality goal.

    To find the best future-proof solutions, the city organised the Helsinki Energy Challenge, an international, one-million-euro challenge competition. The competition was a year-long process and the learnings throughout this journey have been eye-opening for the city.

    Out of 252 applications and ten finalists, four teams of innovators won the challenge, although as Helsinki Mayor Jan Vapaavuori pointed out, “the biggest winner of the challenge is Helsinki itself and also other cities around the world that can benefit from the knowledge and insights gathered here”. 

    The Covenant of Mayors Office and the city of Helsinki organise a series of two webinars to draw the lessons from this challenge, explore what cities can learn from Helsinki’s unique approach to the topic, and how they can replicate the solutions to other local contexts.

    This first session will focus on the different solutions proposed by the winning and finalist teams.

    • Common features and new paradigms advanced by the different solutions

    Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen and Karoliina Auvinen from the City of Helsinki

    • CarbonHelSinki solution: involving citizens in system change – a knowledge centre to engage citizens and a circular District Heating System focused on making use of heat that is otherwise lost

    Kristina Lygnerud, Swedish Environmental Research, CarbonHelSinki team leader

    • Beyond Fossils solution: an energy transition model based on open and technology-neutral clean heating auctions

    Åsa Hedman, Flexens, Beyond Fossils team

    Interested in this event? Get the full agenda and register here.

    Find out more on the second session on the lessons learned of the Helsinki Energy Challenge process here.