Helsinki unveils €1 million global challenge to meet 2035 carbon-neutral goal


The City of Helsinki has unveiled the Helsinki Energy Challenge aimed at eliminating coal as the main source of district heating.

The €1 million competition is inviting innovative ideas and technologies to find the future of urban heating.

The ideas presented must not rely on fossil fuel or biomass-fired heating as the main aim is to become carbon-neutral by 2035 and ban coal use for energy production in Finland from 2029.

In a statement, the city revealed that the goal of the challenge is to find solutions that can be implemented in the Finnish capital by 2029 and that potentially could contribute to decarbonising city heating around the world.

To participate in the challenge, consortiums, start-ups, larger and more established companies, research institutions, universities, research groups and individual experts should join as a team.

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The challenge is open for submissions from February 27, 2020 until May 31, 2020.

By early July, finalists will be invited to a co-creation phase, which includes a 3-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 by November.

The City of Helsinki will openly share 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 Helsinki Energy Challenge.

 “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. 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,” says Mayor of Helsinki, Mr. Jan Vapaavuori.

 “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.”

Click here for more information about the challenge.

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