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Helsinki lays down €1m global challenge for sustainable heating solutions

The Finnish capital is inviting innovators to come up with "game-changing" ideas for the future of urban heating which can be implemented in Helsinki but shared around the world.

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Helsinki wants to take a global lead in sustainable urban heating
Helsinki wants to take a global lead in sustainable urban heating

Helsinki mayor Jan Vapaavuori has launched a global €1 million challenge competition, urging innovators around the world to propose game-changing solutions for the future of urban heating.

 

Finland is committed to becoming carbon-neutral by 2035. Coal is banned from energy production in the country from 2029 and the City of Helsinki has declared that it will not rely on biomass-fired heating.

 

Global solutions

 

The goal of the Helsinki Energy Challenge is to find solutions that can be implemented in Helsinki by 2029 and that potentially could contribute to decarbonising city heating around the world.

 

The city is committed to openly sharing the solutions and know-how gathered from the challenge. Cities such as Toronto, Amsterdam, Vancouver and Leeds, as well as organisations like the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council and C40 City Solutions Platform, are already supporting the initiative.

 

"Solving the urban heating challenge is crucial to reach global climate goals. Cities have a key role to play in the transition to a low-carbon economy, and Helsinki is now taking an initiative to lead the way,” said Vapaavuori.

 

“We invite innovators from all around the world to use our city as a testbed to develop not just fossil-free, but truly sustainable, solutions. Together, we will create the future of heating to fight global warming.

 

“Climate change is a global crisis that will not be solved by quick fixes. With over half of the city’s heat coming from coal, we hope that our shift to sustainable energy can help inspire other cities and act as a real-life case that a transition is possible. Taking this next step might lead to a revolutionary breakthrough in our pursuit for a more sustainable city life.”

 

“We invite innovators from all around the world to use our city as a testbed to develop not just fossil free, but truly sustainable, solutions. Together, we will create the future of heating to fight global warming.”

 

The scope of Helsinki’s heating system allows for a range of solutions, from large- to small-scale, but the ideal combination of solutions is yet to be found. The winning proposal could include technological and business model innovation or be a solution requiring system-level transformation.

 

Proposed solutions will be evaluated based on climate impact, impact on natural resources, cost, implementation schedule, implementation feasibility, reliability and security of supply, and capacity.

 

The challenge is open globally to anyone who can propose a sustainable heating solution for Helsinki – consortiums, start-ups, larger and more established companies, research institutions, universities, research groups and individual experts. The only requirement is that participants should join the competition as a team.

 

The challenge is open for submissions until May 31, 2020. By early July, finalists will be invited to a co-creation phase, which includes a three-day boot camp, where they are provided support to develop their proposals, before presenting them to an international jury of experts who will name the winner(s). The winning solution(s) will be presented in November and awarded with €1 million.

 

Read more about Helsinki Energy Challenge at the website: www.energychallenge.hel.fi

 

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