Highlights in 2019
High impact innovation activity triggered by MI
- The MI ERA-Net call received 26 applications from Finland in 2019, and €3 million funding was reserved for the call. Funding decisions will be made in 2020.
- The Finnish parliament passed a bill banning the use of coal as an energy source by the end of 2029. This has activated a host of innovation activities, as large utility companies are racing to comply with the ban. A total of €90 million of financial support will be awarded to companies that successfully remove coal from energy production by the end of 2025.
Impact of your national clean energy innovation activity
Clean energy innovation projects funded by Business Finland since 2014 are estimated to have generated a total of almost 2900 jobs and almost €1.5 billion of revenue by the end of 2019. They have had a significant contribution to the emission reductions of the Finnish energy sector. Energy-sector GHG emissions have decreased from approximately 60 Mt CO2e in 2010 to approximately 40 Mt CO2e in 2017.
Update on clean energy innovation policies and strategies
Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s Government Programme was published in December 2019. According to the Programme, The Government will decide on the additional actions needed to bring Finland’s emissions reduction path in line with the goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2035.
Finland submitted its integrated National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) to the European Commission on 20 December 2019. The plan covers all five dimensions of the EU Energy Union, including research, innovation and competitiveness. The plan lays down the 2030 targets for these five dimensions, and the policy measures to achieve them.
Finland is currently preparing its long-term strategy on climate and energy (2050). According to the draft strategy, Finland aims to invest significant funding in climate innovations. Sector integration and digital solutions, among others, will be included in the priority sectors. The draft strategy also highlights the importance of finding solutions for hard-to-abate-sectors.
Major innovation initiatives and programmes in 2019/20
There are three major innovation initiatives and programmes up and running. Joint funding volume is over €200 million and the programmes are being implemented with private sector and other stakeholders.
- Smart Energy program (2017-21)
- Batteries from Finland campaign (2018-2020)
- Smart Mobility program (2018-22)
Private sector engagement in 2019/20
Public-private testbeds and innovation platforms are listed below. These public-private partnerships involve more than 100 companies in total. In addition, there are several business-led ecosystem initiatives ongoing.
- Smart Otaniemi platform, over 100 companies involved, joint initiatives involving companies, research organizations and other actors from the energy and high tech sphere. Several pilots operating in field including AI and blockchain, aggregator business models, smart EV charging infrastructure and 5G and IoT services.
- Åland Island Smart Energy Platform, over 20 companies and research entities are involved. The project aims to create a piloting area for new smart energy technologies and a 100 % renewable energy system on Åland Islands. The platform was awarded a capital loan from the State of Finland in 2019 and is now in implementation phase.
- Power to X innovation ecosystem spearheaded by the Lappeenranta University of Technology and VTT, and involving several companies. The aim is to produce an operating model for a dynamic ecosystem based on clean, affordable and unlimited resource of electricity. The cornerstone of the ecosystem is the rapid electrification of society, including Power to X to Power solutions combined with maximum utilization of digitalization. In addition to the ecosystem theme, the project aims to produce a road map for the commercialization and research activities of the topic for coming years.
- BatCircle innovation ecosystem, involving 30 companies and research organizations and focusing on sustainable primary resources, value addition in metal refining, battery recycling, precursor and active materials, circular business ecosystems. This ecosystem was recognized by EU Commission and Finland was asked to lead the Battery Recycling sub working group under the Battery Implementation plan.
- BEI innovation ecosystem focusing on research and production incl. machine learning, artificial intelligence and extensive automation, EV systems and energy storage solutions with modern design methods and tools.
- Baltic Offshore innovation ecosystem exploring the utilization of offshore wind power in the Baltic Sea.
Major activities in support of the Innovation Challenges in 2019/20
- Finland has been actively involved in the operation of the EU SET-Plan. The SET-Plan combines the promotion and better coordination of energy technology in the EU and the EEC countries. A total of 14 implementation plans have been prepared in the SET-Plan between 2016 and 2019. Finland has participated actively in the preparation and introduction of these implementation plans.
- SET-Plan key action no 7. “Batteries for e-Mobility and Stationary Storage” where Finland is leading WG related battery recycling. Finland has launched an innovation ecosystem named BatCicle, where over 30 companies, universities and research institutes are involved (see 1 b. for details).
- Finland – China (Business Finland – MoST) joint call related to clean energy collaboration was opened in the end of 2018 and five projects were initiated in 2019.
Other Mission Innovation related activity in 2019/20
- Acclaimed scientist and Power to X pioneer Pasi Vainikka was nominated as MI champion and participated in the MI conference in Vancouver.
- The annual Smart Energy Forum was held in Helsinki with representatives from 100 companies and research organizations participating.
- Finland hosted the SET-Plan
- Cybersec in Energy side event in SLUSH startup event.
National plans and priorities for clean energy innovation
To meet the targets set in the Government Programme for climate neutral Finland by 2035, The Finnish Government, in cooperation with the major industries, is currently preparing the low-carbon roadmaps for different sectors. The roadmaps will be finalized in 2020. These roadmaps include also technology roadmaps regarding solutions needed to achieve climate targets. The Finnish Government will use the information when planning its next energy and climate strategy’s clean energy innovation policies. The strategy will take into account and coordinate the Government Programme’s energy and climate policies, the long and medium-term climate change policy plans referred to in the Climate Change Act, and the EU’s energy and climate targets for 2030. The strategy will be published in 2021.
Currently the key innovation themes in the clean energy sector in Finland include the following:
- Power-to-X technology is the next step beyond hydrogen. It can be used to produce different raw-materials and products, such as synthetic methane, ammonia and even protein.
- Electricity storage
- Energy-sector cybersecurity and other digital energy solutions
- Circular economy solutions, such as waste heat from data centers
17 countries and regions
Joint funding call under EU ERA-Net umbrella
Type of collaboration: research and development
Start date: 2019
End date: 2020
Funding amount: €3M
Find out more