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23 October 2019

17th WALCC Forum hosts discussion on cities leading innovation

On Monday, September 30th, and Tuesday, October 1st, 2019, the World Alliance for Low Carbon Cities (WALCC), together with its partner Synocus, invited an engaged group of experts from cities, research, corporations, and SMEs to join in discussion on low-carbon development. This 17th gathering was held at the Hanaholmen Culture Center on Hanasaari, in Espoo, Finland and marked the release of a new report on the evolving logic of urban innovation which was published in cooperation with Synocus and the members of the Nordic Urban Mobility Ecosystem (NUME).

The themes of the report set the agenda for the Forum’s program which, through panel discussions, keynote addresses, and breakout sessions, addressed the shifting role of cities in solving the challenges related to global warming and the new approaches to innovation called for by this urgent situation. The opening addresses from State Secretary of Finance Mr. Kimmo Tiilikainen, the Chinese Ambassador Mr. Chen Li, Alliance Chairman Mr. Pasi Mikkonen of Fortum, and Alliance co-founder and Honorary Chairman Prof. Kang Feiyu touched on the significance of cities in this era of growing climate concern, the need for action to reach the goals set forth in the Paris agreement, the considerable value of what China and Finland have to offer each other, and the need to seek new means of cooperation which take businesses outside of their own networks.

The Forum pursued the themes laid out in the report and posed by these opening addresses through panel discussions featuring city leaders, executives, as well as experts on green finance and innovation as well as breakout sessions that drilled down on specific topics of interest. These breakout sessions included ones focused on the ever more crucial battery sector, utilization of renewable sources of energy, and the transformation of urban logistics and mobility as a whole.

Following the two-day Forum, the Alliance invited guests to join a site visit tour which took participants to sites in Espoo. The visitors traveled to Fortum’s combined heat and power plant in Suomenoja, Espoo to learn about the operation of the plant and the optimization of various sources of energy, a central aspect in Fortum’s aim to decrease the use of coal as fuel ahead of ceasing its use in 2025. Next the group visited Finnish energy company St1’s geothermal heat site in Otaniemi ahead of a presentation on the project from St1’s Director of Renewable Energy Matti Pentti. The group closed the day by visiting Aalto University to learn about the university and the Circular Ecosystem of Battery Metals (BATCircle).

The Alliance also announced its coming Forums, the key events of the coming calendar year, one to be held in China, at a date, in early May, and location to be set later, and Stockholm, at a date to be set in mid-October. The Alliance now encourages and welcomes all members of its extended network, as well as those interested in becoming involved in its operations, to get in touch and help us develop next year’s Forums.