Tractebel and partners win Helsinki Energy Challenge

30 Mar 2021

The HIVE team was chosen among 252 participants from 35 countries for their design of a future-proof, innovative solution to decarbonize Helsinki’s heating network


The Finnish capital city is a leader in the fight against climate change. Its ambitious plans to be carbon-neutral by 2035 are hinging on its heating system, which accounts for over half of the Nordic city’s emissions.* To find a long-term solution, it organized the Helsinki Energy Challenge.

The year-long competition saw 252 teams from 35 countries submit innovative ideas to decarbonize Helsinki’s heating network.

The HIVE team, a collaboration between Tractebel and the ENGIE companies Storengy, ENGIE Impact, ENGIE Lab CRIGEN, Siradel and ENGIE Digital, in partnership with newHeat, Savosolar Oyj, PlanEnergi and AEE Intec, proved to be a force to be reckoned with: their future-proof solution earned them a place among the four winners of the Challenge.

Heating up Helsinki

HIVE’s solution eliminates the need to heat with coal or gas, meaning improved air quality and drastically reduced CO2 emissions. How? By using the city’s greatest natural resource: the Baltic Sea. Heat pumps can produce up to half of Helsinki’s energy needs. The rest can be generated from solar thermal fields, thermal energy storage and district heating grid optimization.

Tractebel in the HIVE

Representing Tractebel, Jean-Baptiste Débonnaire, Head of Cities & Territories in France, led investment and operating cost estimates, including levelized costs of heating over the lifetime of the solution. His team also detailed the feasibility and implementation schedule, including the conversion of existing assets and the integration of new ones, such as sea water pumps.

“Our HIVE team is an extraordinary collaboration of individuals and organizations with extensive experience in the energy and urban sector, including large district heating project development. We were thrilled to have the opportunity to propose a sustainable solution to decarbonize Helsinki. Helping cities take such important steps towards long-term sustainability is directly aligned with Tractebel’s purpose of engineering a carbon-neutral future.”  

-Jean-Baptiste Débonnaire, Tractebel - Head of Cities & Territories in France

*Find out more about HIVE’s solution and the Helsinki Energy Challenge

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