The last deadline to send clarifying questions was 31 August 2020. Therefore the question form has now been closed.

We encourage all interested parties to get familiar with the given background information (available here) as well as with all published Q&As.

Questions sent before 20 March  click here to download the answers PDF
Questions sent before 10 April – click here to download the answers PDF
Answers to the questions in webinar on 4 May 2020  PDF
Questions sent before 1 May – click here to download the answers  PDF
Questions sent before 29 May – click here to download the answers  PDF
Answers to the questions in webinar on 16 June 2020 PDF
Questions sent before 22 June – click here to download the answers PDF
Questions sent before 7 August – click here to download the answers  PDF 
Questions sent before 31 August – click here to download the answer  PDF


Some frequently asked questions:

  • The City of Helsinki has set the goal of being carbon-neutral by 2035, and the Finnish government has banned the use of coal in energy production from 2029 onwards. Currently, more than half of the city’s heating is produced using coal, and radically new solutions are needed to meet Helsinki’s heat demand. Burning biomass is not an option. The City of Helsinki is launching the Challenge to find game-changing, sustainable heating solutions, that have the potential to be implemented in Helsinki by 2029. To fight climate change, sustainable heating solutions are needed in cities all over the world. With this Challenge competition, the City of Helsinki wants to provide itself as a testbed to create future solutions not only for Helsinki, but also for other cities around the world.

  • Through the Challenge, we hope to find urban heating solutions with the potential to be implemented beyond Helsinki, in cities all over the world. We also want to inspire other cities to start questioning their energy choices. We will share our learnings and solutions so that other cities can benefit from them on their journeys towards carbon-neutrality. 

  • The Helsinki Energy Challenge is a public competition open globally to anyone who can provide a sustainable heating solution for Helsinki – for example start-ups and other companies, research institutions, universities, research groups, consortiums and also individual experts. The only requirement is that you join the Challenge as a team with at least two members. Large and diverse teams are encouraged.

  •  We welcome different types of solutions to the Challenge. The scope of Helsinki’s heating system allows for a range of solutions, from large to smaller scale, but the ideal combination of solutions is yet to be found. 

    Competition entries could include new technologies for heat production, solutions significantly disrupting or improving current heat production technologies or processes, or energy efficiency solutions that the City or its energy company can implement centrally, or even non-technological innovations – to name a few. The list is certainly not exhaustive; we are truly open for all types of solutions to be put forward. The City of Helsinki is not only open to leveraging its current district heating system, but also to solutions requiring system-level change.

    A competition entry could include several solutions that are complementary or consist of a single solution with a significant effect on future heat supply.

  • The winner of the Challenge gets a one-million-euro cash prize, and gain international visibility and network possibilities, as the solution will be shared with other cities all over the world. Most importantly, Challenge participants will have a unique opportunity to play a part in solving a pressing global issue. Those selected to the co-creation phase, will also get unique networking opportunities and support in further developing their ideas, in addition to 10,000 euros for refining their solution (plus travel expenses to Helsinki).

  • When the winner has been awarded with one million euros, it is not over. On the contrary, that is when decisions on next steps are made, which may mean more opportunities for the winner. The implementation of the winning plan and the solutions included in it, as well as the co-development between the winner and the City of  Helsinki, is a possible continuation but yet a separate process from this challenge competition. The continuation will be decided upon after the challenge competition process is completed, depending on the winning plan and the type of solution(s) it consists of. Thus, the ultimate value of winning the Challenge can be far greater than the prize money. 

    Since City of Helsinki is committed to sharing learnings and solutions with other cities, participants are provided a unique opportunity to gain visibility, networks and business opportunities in other parts of the world, with further development or scale-up as possible outcomes.

  • All intellectual property rights will remain with the teams. However, The City of Helsinki will have the right to use the winning plans and the ideas presented in them in its own operations. 

    We advise you not to share any business secrets in the 1st phase (application phase). However, if you need to share sensitive business secrets for Challenge organisers to review the proposed solution, please mark this clearly and your entry will be treated accordingly (instructions available in the application portal).