The application phase has ended. 

A one million euro competition to create the future of urban heating

In order to find the best solutions for heating Helsinki during decades to come, we invite you to join the Helsinki Energy Challenge – a one million euro global challenge competition that seeks to answer the question:

How can we decarbonise the heating of Helsinki, using as little biomass as possible?

We believe the best ideas can come from anywhere, and that great innovation often comes from multidisciplinary discussions and diverse teams. Therefore, this challenge competition is open globally to everyone - to start-ups and other companies, research institutions, universities, individual experts, consortiums or any other actor who can provide sustainable solutions to urban heating. We only ask one thing: that you join the Challenge as a team.

Challenge entries should be master plans for decarbonising the heating of Helsinki using as little biomass as possible. The proposed plan can include one or more solutions, and we welcome different types of solutions! For example (note – the following are examples and the list is not exhaustive):


  • New technologies for heat production and optimization, or solutions significantly disrupting, transforming or improving current heat production technologies or processes.

  • Energy efficiency solutions that the City of Helsinki or its energy utility can either implement centrally or have control over the implementation otherwise.

  • A competition entry might include several solutions that are complementary, or a single solution with a significant effect on future heat supply.

  • Non-technological innovations, such as business or operating model innovations for city-governed organizations, and innovative policies, are welcome as well.

  • Furthermore, the proposed solutions can either be implemented as part of Helsinki’s current district heating system or, solutions requiring system-level change.


The scope of Helsinki’s energy challenge allows for many different kinds of solutions to be put forward. However, it is important that the implementation of the proposed solutions can be influenced or managed by the City of Helsinki, to ensure necessary large-scale impact.

The main requirement is that the proposed solution should significantly contribute to our ability to stop using coal by 2029 and speed up the City of Helsinki’s journey to becoming carbon-neutral by 2035. Click here to see all evaluation criteria

Joining the Helsinki Energy Challenge is a unique opportunity to play a part in solving a pressing global issue and make a real difference to sustainability worldwide. But participants also have the chance to win one million euros – the prize money allocated by the City of Helsinki for the Helsinki Energy Challenge winner. And since we are committed to sharing learnings and solutions with other cities, the Challenge competition represents a unique opportunity to gain visibility and business opportunities in other parts of the world, with further development or scale-up as possible outcomes.

Read about Helsinki’s current heating system

Read more about the competition process and terms of participation in the full competition program (31 March 2020 updated version) PDF

The City of Helsinki expects that participants read the information provided in the competition program before submitting the application.