From Biomass Availability to Shopping Center Heating – the First Workshop of the Future Energy Leaders Network Focused on the Decarbonization of Heating in Finland

The network of Future Energy Leaders held its first workshop in late April. Corresponding with the interests of the participants, the workshop focused on the future of heating amid the imperatives of climate neutrality.

The curation of the event was a prime example of how the network is designed to work. The workshop was organized as a joint effort by Ville Sahlberg, an executive committee member, and Ilari Haikarainen, a network member. The workshop began with specialist presentations that set the scene for a later, more active part.


The event revolved around the theme of decarbonization of heating, which was contemplated from various different angles during the presentations.

Tomi J. Lindroos’ (VTT) presentation touched upon the upcoming changes in the heating sector and how they cause pressure on biomass use and availability. Kaisa Kontu provided a property-owner perspective of Citycon, a real estate management firm, and why they chose to use a heat pump system instead of district heating. Sonja Salo ( spoke about demand response via existing heat pumps, whereas Ilari Haikarainen (Energion) presented his views on heat pumps in the heating market as well as the technical possibilities and challenges related to the decarbonization of heating.

The workshop

After being introduced to the essentials of heating in Finland, the future leaders pondered on how to resolve central questions faced by the industry.

The participants were divided into groups, and were asked to unwrap the following picture:



Discussions in the groups varied from fundamental questioning of the psychology behind the market economy to more practical reasoning of seasonal variation of heating in the Nordic environments. Seasonal storing of heat was at the center of every group’s thinking. In the same fashion, demand response was widely seen as an essential factor the industry needs to adopt in order to provide salient solutions.

The next FEL-Finland workshop will take place in May. If you are interested in the workshop, follow WEC Finland’s website or contact the council directly at