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Business Finland has granted funding worth almost EUR 5 million ($5.8 million) for the development of a smart and flexible energy system testing platform in Otaniemi, Espoo.

The testing platform will be built around Nokia’s 5G network, utilising the opportunities it brings for the fast transfer of data.

The funding granted by Business Finland is divided among 11 companies and three research organisations.

In addition, more than 20 companies will participate in the development of the testing platform with their own funds. Smart Otaniemi will be developed into an innovation ecosystem that brings together experts, companies, technologies and pilot projects, combining all the elements for the future of smart energy.

“The energy sector ecosystem now being built in Otaniemi will attract internationally interest. At Business Finland we believe that testing platforms like these will help to create opportunities for Finnish companies to grow and internationalise. We will also attract foreign operators to Finland,” says Pekka Soini, Director General, Business Finland.

The project aims to increase cooperation between telecom and energy sector operators and to develop ways of combining telecommunication, digital platform and consumer services.

VTT Technical Research Center of Finland is coordinating the testing environment and building it in close cooperation with the network of actors formed by the universities and companies.

The first experiments have already been started in 2018. The aim is to collect information and experiences on utilising the 5G and IoT platform, improving the energy efficiency of buildings, more flexible electricity markets, and the possibilities for charging electric vehicles. Students from Aalto University’s campus area will also be involved in testing the solutions. Students can also get involved in the development work through possible thesis topics.

“Research plays on important role in this changing world. We also need bold experiments alongside strategic cooperation between the different actors,” says Antti Vasara, CEO, VTT.

Otaniemi’s smart energy testing platform is part of Business Finland’s Smart Energy programme which accelerates the know-how and competitiveness of companies in the international markets with the help of testing platforms that are created in different parts of Finland.

“By actively involving consumers in testing and developing the solutions, we can ensure the development of new types of user-friendly energy services,” says Pia Salokoski, Manager of the Smart Energy programme.