Helsinki Energy Challenge

Competitions for sustainable solutions for urban heating

Can you design the future of urban heating? Solving the heating challenge in cities is key in the fight against global warming. The City of Helsinki has launched a global one million euro challenge competition to design the future of urban heating. Find out more and apply to the Helsinki Energy Challenge. Together we will create the future of heating to fight global warming

The climate crisis is the most crucial challenge of our time, and cities have a key role in driving the shift to a low-carbon economy. Helsinki is one of the leading cities in the transition towards a sustainable future, with the goal of becoming carbon-neutral by 2035. But there is an issue to overcome. Currently, more than half of the city’s heat is produced with coal. In order to achieve carbon neutrality, we need radically new solutions to meet Helsinki’s heat demand. And we are not alone. To fight climate change, sustainable heating solutions are needed in cities all over the world. Heating not just beyond coal, but also beyond burning biomass.

That is why we have launched the Helsinki Energy Challenge. A global one-million-euro challenge competition to answer the question: How can we decarbonise the heating of Helsinki, using as little biomass as possible?

Joining the Helsinki Energy Challenge is a unique opportunity to play a part in solving a pressing global issue and making 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 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.

We believe the best ideas can come from anywhere, and that great innovation often comes from multidisciplinary discussions and diverse teams.  Therefore, the Challenge 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. The proposed plan can include one or more solutions, and we welcome different types of solutions – technological but also non-technological innovations. City of Helsinki is not only open to leveraging its current district heating system, but also to solutions requiring system-level change. The main requirement is that the proposed solutions 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.

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

We invite innovators from all around the world to use Helsinki as a testbed for truly sustainable solutions for urban heating. Taking this next step might lead to a revolutionary breakthrough in our fight for a more sustainable city life .

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