Business Finland has granted funding worth almost EUR 5 million for the development of a smart and flexible energy system testing platform in Otaniemi, Espoo. The testing platform will be built around Nokia's 5G network, utilising the opportunities it brings for the fast transfer of data.
The funding granted by Business Finland is divided among 11 companies and three research organisations. In addition, more than 20 companies will participate in the development of the testing platform with their own funds. Smart Otaniemi will be developed into an innovation ecosystem that brings together experts, companies, technologies and pilot projects, combining all the elements for the future of smart energy.
"The energy sector ecosystem now being built in Otaniemi will attract internationally interest. At Business Finland we believe that testing platforms like these will help to create opportunities for Finnish companies to grow and internationalise. We will also attract foreign operators to Finland," says Pekka Soini, Director General, Business Finland.
Developing and taking innovations to the market requires networking and opportunities for experimentation
As one of the companies involved in the project, Nokia aims to create new opportunities for cooperation between telecom and energy sector operators and to develop ways of combining telecommunication, digital platform and consumer services.
"In Nokia's vision, 5G and automation can help to boost many industrial processes. One of these areas is smart electricity grids and the Smart Otaniemi project offers an excellent framework for developing innovations in cooperation with the top actors in the field. Our aim is to work even more closely with the energy sector in building new smart energy systems in Finland and on a global scale. This is also an excellent opportunity for Nokia to find new cooperation partners in a sector where the company has not operated extensively before," says Lauri Oksanen, VP Research and Technology, Nokia Bell Labs.
GreenEnergy Finland (GEF) is also one of the companies that is developing its solutions in Otaniemi.
"Otaniemi is an excellent platform for testing the commercial electricity market integration and smart electricity networks of properties as we create, together with competent partners, a working vision for a smart city of the future and develop solutions for everything from demand flexibility to energy digitalization," says Miko Huomo, Executive Partner, GreenEnergy Finland.
Involving consumers in testing new energy solutions
VTT Technical Research Center of Finland is coordinating the testing environment and building it in close cooperation with the network of actors formed by the universities and companies. The first experiments will already begin in 2018. The aim is to collect information and experiences on utilising the 5G and IoT platform, improving the energy efficiency of buildings, more flexible electricity markets, and the possibilities for charging electric vehicles. Students from Aalto University's campus area will also be involved in testing the solutions. Students can also get involved in the development work through possible thesis topics.
"Research plays on important role in this changing world. We also need bold experiments alongside strategic cooperation between the different actors. VTT wants to bring the actors together to find new business solutions for global opportunities. Smart Otaniemi is a good indication of a new kind of cooperation in Finland," says Antti Vasara, CEO, VTT.
Otaniemi's smart energy testing platform is part of Business Finland's Smart Energy program which accelerates the know-how and competitiveness of Finnish companies in the international markets with the help of testing platforms that are created in different parts of Finland.
"By actively involving consumers in testing and developing the solutions, we can ensure the development of new types of user-friendly energy services," says Pia Salokoski, Manager of the Smart Energy program.