The Smart Energy Transition project (SET) has examined the impact that the global upheaval in energy is having on Finland. The starting point for the SET project was that the ongoing global energy transition will inevitably affect Finland, as the fight against climate change will require fundamental changes in the energy system. These changes emerge both in new ways of producing and consuming energy, as well as new business models, export opportunities, and ways of living and moving.
The project began in 2015 and it will conclude at the end of this year. A total of 10 different partner organisations and more than 40 researchers and experts from different sectors of the energy transition have taken part in the project. In the early years, Professor Raimo Lovio served as the Consortium Leader, and currently the project is headed by Professor of Practice Armi Temmes. Both Lovio and Temmes work at the Department of Management Studies at the School of Business. Funding for the multidisciplinary project has come from the Strategic Research Council (SRC), which operates in connection with the Academy of Finland.
Through multidisciplinary cooperation toward sustainable growth
Societal impact is important in SRC projects. The SET project has sought to help decision makers and businesses to understand the transition and to take advantage of the opportunities it is bringing by producing policy recommendations, and by organising various discussion forums, among other things. The project will also soon be publishing a separate impact report.
A so-called ‘transition arena tool’ has been created for the project. Progression in its workshops moved from present challenges and drivers of change to a vision for 2030 and goals for change with which the vision could be achieved. Starting from a foundation of work in the arena, a thorough change of district heating systems was recommended, for example, to enable coal phase-out. To put this into practice, a concept was drawn up for a district heating system that would operate without fossil energy, based on technical research, and the challenges of the required transition were studied thoroughly.
The project also brings together databases of companies operating in the field of renewable and smart energy solutions. Nearly 70 peer-reviewed publications have been produced so far, and in addition, SET researchers have published magazine articles and blogs, the best of which have been compiled in a compilation. Two board games have been developed to increase understanding of the energy transition among the public at large.
When the project began in 2015 energy transition was a phenomenon that was not recognised by many, but in 2020 it is an inescapable part of the energy field. The SET project, alongside many others, has affected change in the energy field by studying transition technologies, learning from experiments, and joint development, and by analysing political action, institutions, and business models. In this time the amount of renewable energy has increased in the energy system, and smart and clean energy business activities are growing. Technologies for achieving a carbon neutral energy system already exist, and next we will need more purposeful decisions to promote the transition.
You can hear and discuss some of the key results of research on the SET project in a joint webinar on STN energy projects on 1 December 2020 called Challenges and opportunities of the energy transition. The webinar is held in Finnish, and it is open to all and is free of charge. We hope to see you there!
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