Plans and Priorities
Finland has a long history in developing innovative energy solutions. Cold climate and energy intensive industry have made us invest in energy efficiency. Combined heat and power production (CHP) has been important for both industry and big cities. Innovations have always been part of Finnish energy policy. R&D investments in Finland were even 4 % of the GDP in 2010. It is still one of the highest comparing to other countries although it has come down slightly from the highest values.
Bioenergy has been the main renewable energy source in Finland already many years based on the remarkable forest industry in Finland. Renewable energy production is getting closer to 40% of the total energy production in Finland. Bioenergy’s role is significant but also wind power is growing fast in coming years. Finland puts much effort on biofuels development and demonstration for transportation and heating purposes.
Mission Innovation, the Government of Finland will seek doubling the financing of R&D&D investments for clean energy at the following areas:
- Renewable energy
- Energy systems
- Energy storages
- Electricity transmission and distribution
Academy of Finland is financing basic research. Their New Energy programme harnesses scientific methods to resolve complex issues related to the great energy transition. Smart technology will rapidly change the energy market, creating new infrastructures and new service models based on the energy choices consumers make. The programme will approach these complex issues from a scientific perspective. The energy solutions of the future will serve society’s aims of achieving greater wellbeing, while taking due note of the values of, and appraisal by, society and individuals.
Under Academy of Finland there is Strategic Research Council which funds high-quality research that has great societal impact. The research should seek to find concrete solutions to grand challenges that require multidisciplinary approaches. An important element of such research is active collaboration between those who produce new knowledge and those who use it. Each year, the SRC prepares a proposal on key strategic research themes and priorities to be approved by the Finnish Government. The Government determines the research needs and decides the final themes, which the SRC then formulates into research programmes and funding calls. SRC programmes run for 3–6 years. The SRC’s annual funding budget is some 55 million euros. In the energy sector there is one theme, a climate-neutral and resource-scarce society and under that the programme A Climate-Neutral and Resource-Scarce Finland.
The Tekes, Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation programmes and initiatives are topical entities targeted at financial and expert service areas. Within the programmes and initiatives, businesses and public research units can develop new know-how, build networks and have an impact on the development of their field. Tekes energy related programmes are:
BioNets (2016-): The BioNets programme is being implemented in cooperation with Team Finland. Goal of the programme is to generate for Finland’s bio and circular economy
- innovative and international business ecosystems
- new business development platforms
- new bioeconomy actors via digitalisation and the circular economy and
- pilot and demo projects
The goal is to pilot solutions at an early stage together with customers.
CleanWeb (2016-): Green growth has become a focus for the whole of Finland. The objective of CleanWeb is to create rapidly scalable cleantech businesses and accelerate their access to the markets.This involves leveraging digitalisation and new innovations and practices to transform the Cleantech sector into a reformed, competitive growth industry.
Witty City (2013-17): The aim of the Witty City programme is to provide people with better living and working environments and companies with opportunities to bring new products and services on the market. Cities will play a key role in the programme as they are central players in such areas as planning, procurement and the choice of energy sources.
The other Tekes programme which supports the energy sector is the Industrial Internet-Business Revolution (2014-2019). The programme aims to renew the business operations of companies through the Industrial Internet and encourage companies from different fields to engage in new kinds of cooperation.
Tekes will seek the increase of funding for MI areas under R&D programmes for clean energy, several already running and some new at planning phase. Tekes is planning new energy and climate related R&D&I programme which could take the coordinating role in MI action.
Renewable energy account for a substantial share of the total R&D efforts in Finland. The R&D programmes of Tekes have supported the development of bioenergy, biofuels, wind, photovoltaics, solar thermal, fuel cells, ocean energy, geothermal, hydropower, renewable heating and cooling and renewable alternative fuels. Finland will create new support programmes for renewable energy. Aid will be based on technology neutrality and ranking of economic priorities.
Energy systems are probably in the biggest transition seen in their history, leading to major changes in energy production and energy transmission as well as energy use. The main R&D&I focus is in the new flexible energy system which is smartly controlled and uses digitalization and IoT effectively. The sustainable future energy system will utilize flexible power generation and the flexibility offered by demand response and energy storages to compensate for the intermittency of renewables. It will also take into account the human behavioral factors and user-experience as well as consider different geographical areas having centralized or distributed market models.
The R&D&I programmes in Finland support energy storage technologies from small to large scale. The main focus is in the Power to X technologies as well as integration of storage to smart grids and renewable production.
Electricity transmission and distribution
Finland is already forerunner in smart grids and meters. In the coming years more R&D&I support is put on the smartly controlled micro grids both off grid solutions and when synchronized with the main grid.
Public private partnership and international cooperation is very important in a small country like Finland. Participation in international projects provides opportunities for building up professional expertise and operating networks. In the energy sector, Finland is involved in cooperation in the EU, the International Energy Agency (IEA) and strongly at Nordic level. Finland has also number of bilateral (the US, Japan, China, India, Brasil) cooperation.
The Government of Finland has already decided to use 100 million euro during 2016 -2018 for demonstrations of new technology investments in clean energy. This subsidy scheme will be included in the doubling plan and it will increase our funding for clean energy innovations with 20 million euro in 2016 and 40 million euro both in 2017 and 2018. Tekes will seek the increase of funding for those five MI areas under R&D programmes for clean energy, several already running and some new at planning phase.