Innovation for better future: EnergySampo Forum

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The year has started with lots of actions related to the outcomes of the first EnergySampo Forum that was organized in Vaasa on the 17th of October 2023 with the objective to bring together private and public sector actions to accelerate innovation and investment in the rapidly evolving energy sector. The event did just that: We had all EnergySampo partners, ABB, Danfoss, Hitachi Energy, Wärtsilä, Vaasan Sähkö, VEO and VNT Management, and our key stakeholders, key regional and national players in the industry Stormossen, Fingrid, Gasgrid and Westenergy, research institutions like VTT, LUT, University of Vaasa, Åbo Akademi, VAMK and Novia, and funding agencies Pohjanmaan Liitto, Business Finland and Climate Fund in the same room sharing information, ideating and prioritizing ideas for further actions.

Global Opportunity: Sustainable and systemic energy solutions

EnergySampo’s chairman of the board, Vaasan Sähkö’s CEO Stefan Damlin framed the challenge by stating that the energy sector has huge potential for Finland both in terms of economic growth in Finland, but also in developing sustainable energy solutions for the world economy. But to harness that potential, there is a need for a business-driven approach and new ways of collaborating and financing.

To ensure business -driven approach, we started the day by discovering how the companies view the future of energy. In addition to Vaasan Sähkö, Aimo Latvala from Stormossen, Jussi Jyrinsalo from Fingrid and Heli Virkki from Gasgrid all shared their views of the system level opportunities. These were complemented by looking at the emerging technology space through the eyes of VNT Management’s Jarmo Saaranen. The research institutions continued to build on the ideas presented by the business partners, and through facilitated group discussions we were able to define four tangible ideas for further discussion and reflection, and to see if there is potential for fundable pilot projects.

Tangible ideas for energy sector innovation and collaboration

The positive atmosphere and results oriented way of working resulted three tangible collaboration ideas that we have been working on during the past months:

  • Off-take simulation: Fingrid has predicted that there will be much more demand for the national grid extension than the planned investments allow. Together with Gasgrid and LUT they have created scenarios of how the Finnish energy market will evolve. However, we felt that there is a need to continue that work and bring the simulation to more granular level. Hence, the decision to take further actions led by Mikko Helle from Åbo Akademi.
  • European Data Spaces: There is a lot of potential for optimizing energy production, transfer and usage applications. Until now Sitra has been leading the work related to data spaces in the context of GAIA-X program. During the past months there have been discussions about how to ensure that Finnish companies are active in discussions related to the regulation guiding the development of energy data usage and related AI driven applications where also players like Findgrid Data Hub and new partners like Wapice have been invited to define the next steps for further collaboration.
  • Hydrogen Valley: While Finland’s first Hydrogen Valley the Baltic Sea H2 is paving the way for Finland being in the forefront in the development of sustainable solutions for clean energy and green transition, the role of the Finnish West Coast cannot be overlooked. Plenty of renewable energy, strong players focusing on ramping up the hydrogen production and number of innovative industry players to use hydrogen in its various forms, the Finnish West Coast ecosystem has a lot of potential to become a leading innovator in the developing hydrogen economy. Furthermore, the BotH2nia collaboration is paving the way for further development. Together with strong technology providers like the EnergySampo partners, there is a decision to apply for funding in the upcoming EU Hydrogen Valley call that opened January 2024.

The collaboration is about finding tangible ideas and proceeding with development. Each of the three ideas listed above, call for a lot of action during the coming months. Hence, we recommend you to stay tuned for further details and calls for action from our part. We, as EnergySampo partners are committed to solving the climate crisis from our part by developing sustainable and systemic energy solutions for carbon neutral future. Hence, we will continue the discussion during Vaasa Energy Week taking place in March 2024.