Ostrobothnia - Finland
Ostrobothnia is a region situated on the west coast of Finland with a population of approximately 176,000 inhabitants. The region consists of 14 municipalities. Ostrobothnia has both vast expanses of cultivated fields, and the archipelago of Kvarken.
Ostrobothnia has a strong tradition of entrepreneurship, holds the largest number of companies per capita on the mainland of Finland and is the most industry-dominated region in Finland. The export rate of the manufacturing industry is among the highest in Finland, and the large companies situated in the region are global actors.
The Vaasa region in Ostrobothnia is home to the biggest concentration of energy technology companies in the Nordic countries. The Vaasa energy cluster consists of 160 companies developing technological solutions for smart grids, maritime industry, renewable energy production and energy efficiency. More than 90% of the national R&D efforts in electricity and automatization are performed in Ostrobothnia, mainly in local companies. The development of hybrid solutions, battery technology and energy storage are conducted jointly with universities and local business. Vaasa Energy Business Innovation Centre (VEBIC) combines this knowledge to create solutions for efficient energy production, business and sustainable solutions for global needs. Platforms in the region include Smart Grid Laboratory, PAC laboratory (Protection, Automation, Control) and Living lab environment.
In terms of production and usage of renewable energy, the second most important renewable energy source in Ostrobothnia, after bioenergy, is wind power. Due to the coastline, wind energy has an important role in power generation plans in Ostrobothnia. This gives the region a central role in renewable energy production in the future.
There are four universities and two universities of applied sciences in the region. Moreover, the innovation system in Ostrobothnia is strongly business driven, but also characterized by cooperation and a high level of connectivity. To this backdrop, the RIPEET Transition Lab in Ostrobothnia has excellent premises to become a further driver for cooperation between stakeholders in the development and implementation of accessible and integrated approaches to energy transition.
Role in RIPEET
Considering the region’s energy cluster, the green transition is a huge opportunity for companies. At the same time, it is a challenge for the whole society. The triple-helix innovation mode is working well in the region. However, approaching complex challenges concerning a broad group of actors, such as the energy transition, requires new ways of working and an involvement of new actors in the regional development work. The RIPEET transition lab process provides an avenue for implementing this kind of change process and exploring its linkages to policy development.
Ostrobothnia Transition Lab
In Ostrobothnia, the Transition Lab process set off in December 2021.
In accordance with the RIPEET methodology, an active stakeholder group has successfully worked with outlining key goals and actions supporting the energy transition in the region.
A particular focus is on decentralized and local energy, energy communities and bottom-up participation.
Main change targets for 2030:
Taking the organisation of decentralised energy production and consumption in Ostrobothnia to a new level
RIPEET Energy Vision for Ostrobothnia 2030
Decentralized energy production and consumption based on local solutions and impactful organization models ensure a high level of self-efficiency and energy equality.
By 2030, we should achieved:
Established models and networks giving local communities and citizens easy access to participate in the energy system;
Local energy solutions connected to local resources providing efficiency and resilience.
Sub-targets for 2030:
Increasing the number of local solutions connected to local resources
Increasing the number of prosumers (consumers also producing/selling energy)
In April 2022, the stakeholders group in Ostrobothnia met to discuss the needs definition. Next, the outcomes of the process so far will be validated by the Transition Lab community. After this, the open call for the energy pilot was formulated.
Highlights from the peer-learning visit in Ostrobothnia - April 2023
RIPEET peer-learning visit to Vaasa, Finland gathered stakeholders from the mirror ecosystems in Silesia, Poland and Eigersund, Norway in a 3-days programme focusing on sharing regional practices, challenges and innovative solutions on energy transition.
Watch the video to learn more about the mirror regions' representatives experience and the main takeaways from the visit!