Helsinki takes seriously its responsibility for fighting climate change. Our goal is carbon-neutral Helsinki by 2035. More than half of the carbon-dioxide emissions in Helsinki currently originates from heating. We want to change that.

Helsinki Energy Challenge is currently being prepared. Further details and detailed instructions for participation will be published at the official launch of the Challenge.

The heat production for Helsinki’s district heat system is currently based on several energy sources and fuels but coal is one of the main sources – more than half of the heat in Helsinki is now produced with coal. Due to Helsinki’s aim of being carbon-neutral by 2035, as well as The Finnish Government’s decision to ban the energy use of coal from 2029 onwards, new solutions are needed to supply Helsinki’s heat demand.

The current indicative plan to replace coal includes relatively high utilization of biomass. However, biomass is not a problem-free and long term sustainable energy source either due to its carbon dioxide emissions and biodiversity issues and to questions related to its availability and transportation. The City of Helsinki wants to find other alternatives. 

Helsinki’s overall heating challenge is likely to be solved with multiple solutions. The scope of Helsinki’s energy system allows for many different types of solutions, from large scale to smaller scale, but the ideal combination of solutions is yet to be found. This is why we are preparing Helsinki Energy Challenge, a one-million-euro competition to find truly sustainable heating solutions for our city.  

The Challenge calls for companies, research institutions, universities, consortiums and others to propose game-changing solutions that will change the heating system of the future. We look for impactful solutions, innovations and new technologies that can significantly affect Helsinki's heat supply and help to decarbonise the heating systems around the world. The aim is that the proposed solutions are applicable and can be introduced before 2029, when coal has to be replaced as a source of energy
Helsinki Energy Challenge is open globally and will be organized in stages during 2020. 

The Helsinki Energy Challenge opening ceremony will take place at Helsinki City Hall (Pohjoisesplanadi 11–13) on February 27 at 9:30 am. Welcome!

More information on the Helsinki Energy Challenge will be available also on the website on 27 February.

Preliminary evaluation criteria

There are several important aspects according to which the proposed solutions will be assessed – such as:

  • Climate impact  
  • Investment and operating costs 
  • Resource impact (origin of energy)
  • Reliability and security of supply  
  • Implementation schedule

The evaluation criteria and other details presented are subject to change. More information, together with the final terms and criteria, will be published when Helsinki Energy Challenge is officially launched.