Emissions-free heating

While good progress has been made in cleaning up the power sector in many parts of the world, coal-powered district heating is still a major source of emissions. We are looking for solutions, which will substitute heat production sources and cut down the demand for heating in a number of ways. In addition to scalable technical solutions, we seek to provide support for campaigns and steering methods that accelerate the transition process.

District heating may be a bottleneck when striving for decarbonization, as the demand for heating is high in key coal-using regions and it has often been met with coal-based district heating. In China, for example, 40 percent of all coal-fired power plants produce residential heat. 

One of the goals of the foundation is to promote the transition towards emission-free heating by supporting projects and campaigns that replace coal with non-fuel energy sources. These include geothermal heat and heat pumps and, on the other hand, heat storages and technologies reducing demand for heating. Similarly, synergy benefits in the form of district cooling systems are sought to reduce energy demand peaks, particularly in areas with a high cooling demand in summer. This will cut down the peaks in electricity demand that increase emissions. Commercial solutions for community heating and cooling systems can also contribute to the reduction of emissions in industrial heat production, an area where a major amount of work is needed. 

Levels of impact range from city and company levels  to national politics, with non-governmental organizations and investors among the most significant stakeholders. 

Emissions-free heating meets the goal of promoting scalable change at the systemic level through emissions-reduction projects creating rapid impacts, and is thus a fitting focus-area for the foundation’s programme. These projects can promote the scalability of solutions previously developed in Finland and other Nordic countries for wider global use.

 General goals of the foundation in this focus area     

  1. To promote a common picture of the challenge together with the major stakeholders, including decision-makers of cities, companies, funders and NGOs.
  2. To commercialize solutions ranging from energy planning to implementation. This includes finding and bringing together various partners, linking city and energy company decision-makers with companies creating various solutions, organised into “heat clusters”. 
  3. To promote heat related campaigns in cities, support heating related issues in the agenda of citizen groups working on climate crisis and air pollution issues. Support twin city efforts on comparing heating related emissions reductions policies. Promote city level heating challenges inviting local heating solutions.
  4. To support local climate and air pollution campaigns that will help to influence city decision-making and seek out decarbonization solutions. 
  5. To initiate strategic cooperation for public and private investment aimed at the allocation of EU funding focused on green transition in heating solutions.