Smart Energy – We Make it Happen!

Blog post
Erja Turunen

Energy is everywhere, and energy influences everything. For better or for worse. We cannot live without energy. We need it for living, for transportation, for heating and cooling, for manufacturing things, for producing food… for everything. At the same time energy production is the most evil beast for our climate. We know from the climate change studies how much is happening due to carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. The world has woken up and e.g. in Paris 2015 nearly 200 countries agreed to make all possible actions to stop the climate heating to 1,5 degrees. All possible actions mean small and big actions.

I will tell you about one important action. We were sitting with three colleagues in a meeting room approximately two years ago and were thinking about how we could accelerate the development of smart energy solutions. As a research organization, how can VTT contribute to something that big. Smart energy solutions have been researched for at least a decade or so, but it is basically “a power point research”. Extremely important research, but the outcome is mainly different kinds of virtual models and visions of what could happen.

It is not enough that it could happen.  It must happen.

So, there we were thinking and the answer itself was kind of easy. We must continue from virtual models and power points to real large scale “multi-stakeholder” demonstrations. To really show what smart energy systems are. What does it mean when everyone or everything can produce energy, store energy, or use energy? To bring consumers to the centre. Finally, consumers make the decisions and actions. Also, create the market and business cases.

We must continue from virtual models and power points to real large scale “multi-stakeholder” demonstrations. One meeting.  Joint commitment with our closest strategic partners. After that a lot of work and heart from many smart VTT brains. Lot of discussions with partners, customers and funding agencies.

After two years we have our first demonstrations starting in Smart Otaniemi Hub. Like first grape groups. Still far from each other, but you have to start from somewhere. We have a clear plan how to put the puzzle together.

Finally, smart energy systems are about new services over the platform and data. It is about providing good services for consumers to make good choices. It is like Trivago of energy. First you need separate services, such as transportation or smart building automation, and after enough pieces, there will be room for creation of systemic services. That is finally the energy transformation. It is not only about the technology. It is not about small local technological demonstrations. We already have plenty of those. It is about the smart system, and I am proud to say that at VTT we want to help make it happen!  It will happen. For the first time in Europe.

Ps. Thank you for the good co-operation 
@AaltoUniversity@UniLUT and @TampereUniTech

Erja Turunen
Erja Turunen
Executive Vice President
Our vision beyond 2030

The efficient utilisation of renewable and carbon-neutral energy in industry, transport, and construction holds a key position in solving climate issues.