Finland’s capital is on a mission to find sustainable ways to heat itself. We reported in February the launch of the city’s Energy Challenge, a €1 million global challenge calling on innovators to come up with solutions to deliver the future of urban heating.
Though the details of the Helsinki Energy Challenge have being revised slightly due to COVID-19 the initiative goes ahead. City leaders have been clear that while the pandemic means changes to the programme were inevitable, the outbreak has clearly not cancelled the climate crisis.
“Our competition got off to a great start at the end of February, and the reception has been overwhelmingly positive both in Finland and abroad. It is clear that we have started something unique. However, the changed world situation caused by the coronavirus comes at a difficult stage in respect to our competition,” said Jan Vapaavuori, Helsinki Mayor. “Innovators and potential competitors now need time to adapt to the new situation and prolonging the registration phase of the competition is necessary at this point. The competition process will remain otherwise unaltered. Despite the coronavirus, we need to stick to the climate goals. We still have to get rid of coal and we want to replace it with long-term sustainable solutions. We are fulfilling our responsibility in the fight against the global climate crisis and we will not let it wait until the coronavirus crisis has blown over. Both the Helsinki Energy Challenge and our other climate efforts continue at full strength.”
Proposals will be assessed on factors including climate impact, cost, implementation schedule and reliability. Startups, corporations universities, individual experts, research groups and consortiums can all pitch their ideas.
Solutions will be integrated in Helsinki by 2029. The hope is they will also help decarbonise city heating systems worldwide, as the organisers have pledged to share details of the successful ideas, with cities including Amsterdam, Vancouver and Toronto backing the initiative.
The registration phase is extended to 30 September 2020.
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