Call for solutions: Using data to curb energy use

The use of data offers opportunities to develop new digital services to save energy and enable more flexible energy consumption. Sitra has launched a call for solutions for companies and other organisations to develop products and services for reducing energy consumption with Sitra funding. The application deadline was 21 November 2022. 

What is it about?

The energy crisis can be alleviated by saving energy and smoothing out society’s energy consumption peaks. There are major opportunities for innovation and business in new services alleviating the energy crisis.

Sitra is making this call for solutions to find projects to be funded. The aim is to use Sitra funding to accelerate the emergence of digital solutions – products and services – that will help consumers save energy (electricity and heating) more efficiently. Sensible energy use can translate into financial savings for consumers and, ideally, smooth consumption peaks in the energy system.

The call is especially seeking digital solutions that build on data utilisation. The data used in these solutions can be public (such as electricity price data, consumption statistics, weather data) or MyData (such as the consumption history of service users).

An example of a solution being called for could be a mobile phone app that shows when electricity rates will be the cheapest, so that the consumer can schedule using, say, a washing machine. Another example could be a service that analyses the energy consumption of a household or small business on an hourly basis and reports when the set energy-saving targets have been reached, while showing how to boost energy savings or improve demand response.

The solution could be one for the current situation that results in a functional service utilising existing data sources. It could also be a future solution, which would involve a design or an idea for a service that requires exploration and research, new data, interfaces or other infrastructure to be implemented, but which the applicant believes could be realised as a service in the near future.

Funding of approximately EUR 5,000–15,000 can be granted in the first stage and EUR 20,000–50,000 in the second stage per applicant, depending on the objectives of the project and the project plan. The maximum amount of funding per individual applicant is EUR 65,000 during the call for solutions.

The call for solutions has two stages:

  1. In the first stage, Sitra will select and fund a maximum of 15 projects in which the funding recipient’s solution will either be piloted (a current solution) or its feasibility will be investigated for further development (a future solution).

    At the end of the first stage, funding recipients will prepare a final report describing the implementation and results of their project, including an assessment of the potential further development of the solution. The final report will lead to the selection of up to three best solutions. Sitra will conduct the evaluations and selections and may draw on advice from external experts when preparing them. 
  2. The authors of the best solutions selected can submit an application for further funding to Sitra during the second stage of the call for solutions. In the second stage, it is possible to further develop the solutions into viable products or services. Solutions selected for the second stage will be expected to have, as detailed in the selection criteria, among other things, a clearly demonstrated impact and a realistic way of being implemented as a viable and scalable solution.

Sitra held a webinar concerning the call for solutions on 31 October 2022.

Those interested could also participate in another event in which Finnish energy suppliers will present the challenges faced by the energy sector that require a solution, which will be arranged in week 44. The solution proposals do not have to address these precise challenges, but the energy sector has a current understanding of effective measures for energy saving and consumption flexibility and it may therefore be useful for applicants to be aware of them. If they wish, applicants can consider addressing these precise challenges. An article about the reverse pitching event was published on Sitra’s website.

Questions concerning the call should be submitted to Sitra by email to datataloudentiekartta@sitra.fi by 7 November 2022. The answers to the questions were published on Sitra’s website on 8 November 2022.

Application instructions

The application deadline was 21 November 2022.

Who can apply?

We are looking for applicants who have the potential and willingness to quickly pilot new or existing solutions or services that are based on data utilisation and that focus on creating concrete benefits for consumers in terms of savings in energy or heating consumption or demand response. We are looking for solutions that can either be developed into functional services during this winter or whose potential is being explored for future heating seasons. We hope that applicants are willing to participate in both stages of the call for solutions.

The call is open to companies and other organisations registered in Finland or abroad, meaning legal entities

As a rule applicants must be eligible for Sitra’s funding as de minimis aid.

Applicants must be able to commit themselves to a timetable for the different stages of the call.

For further details, please consult the instructions in the document More information about the terms of participation related to the call for solutions: Reducing energy consumption using data.

What do we expect from the solutions?

Goal: The digital product or service to be developed should focus on creating an easy-to-use, data-driven solution that helps energy users make better choices.

The role of data: We are looking for solutions that use data. Data can be public and open, or the data of individuals or organisations.

Fairness: The pilot should reflect the European fair data economy rules (further information, for example, in the Rulebook for a Fair Data Economy).

Human-centred: People-centricity should be reflected in respect for the rights of individuals and organisations and focusing on people’s genuine needs and life situations as the basis for developing solutions.

Experiences: This search for solutions will gather lessons and experiences from the participants and stakeholders involved in different roles. The experiences and lessons learned will be shared and published at the end of the of the pilot project so that others can benefit from the results.

Timetable: Projects funded during the first stage should be carried out between December 2022 and January 2023, while follow-up projects funded during the third stage should be carried out between February 2023 and May 2023.

The project evaluation criteria are provided in the appendix.

First stage

The first stage of the call for solutions will open on 25 October 2022. You can participate by filling in the application form and attaching a free-form project plan (maximum 2 pages) and a cost estimate.

The application with all attachments must be sent to Sitra by 21 November 2022 at 4:00 p.m.  

Those who have received funding during the first stage must submit a final report on the first stage of the project, specified in the funding agreement, to Sitra. The final report must describe the project implementation, the results and the project’s further development potential. The final report must be submitted to Sitra by email no later than 31 January 2023 at 16.00.

Based on the final reports, Sitra will select a maximum of the three best solutions during February 2023. The implementers of these solutions can apply for further funding from Sitra to develop their solution further. Further development may involve either developing the solution into a finished product or exploring the feasibility of the solution.

Second stage

The second stage of the call for solutions – the application for further funding – is open to the best solutions selected during the first stage. The application period for the second stage of the call and the schedule for the follow-up implementation of the projects will run from February–May 2023. The top three projects will be notified separately with more detailed instructions and deadlines for applying for further funding.

Before submitting your application, please consult the detailed terms and conditions and other appendices, which together form the terms of the call and provide information on, for instance, the de minimis aid restrictions and conditions concerning the intellectual property rights for project results. 

Evaluation and approval of applications

Sitra will evaluate the applications in the first and second stages and select the solutions to be funded. Sitra may use external experts to support the evaluation of applications. All applicants will be informed of the selection decisions in writing. A funding agreement will be signed with those who received a positive funding decision.

At the end of the first stage of the call for solutions, up to three of the best projects will be selected from among the first-phase winners to apply for further funding from Sitra. Sitra will evaluate and selections together with external experts, if necessary. The evaluations and selections are made on the basis of the final reports delivered by the funding recipients.

Read the more detailed terms and conditions and selection criteria concerning the call for solutions in the appendix.

Schedule

10/2022

First stage of the call for solutions will open on 25 October 2022

10/2022

Info webinar : Using data to curb energy use. Join the call for solutions. 31 October 2022

10/2022

Reverse pitching: Using data to curb energy use. 31 October 2022

11/2022

Send application-related questions to Sitra

Send any application-related questions to Sitra no later than 7 November 2022 at 08:00. The aim is to publish the answers to the questions on Sitra’s website by 11 November 2022.

11/2022

The first application stage of the call for solutions will close on 21 November 2022 at 16.00

12/2022

Decisions on the projects to be funded will be made

Sitra will take decisions on the projects to be funded and notify all applicants in early December 2022. Funding agreements will then be concluded. 

12/2022

The implementation of the projects

The implementation of the projects to be funded will start in December 2022 after the signing of the funding agreements.

12/2022

Workshops for the projects to be implemented

Mentoring offered by Sitra’s specialists and other experts is available for the projects to be funded. Participation in the workshops is voluntary.

1/2023

The projects will end

The projects will end no later than 31 January 2023. The final reports on implementation, results and the potential for the further development of the projects funded in the first stage must be submitted to Sitra for assessment by 31 January 2023 at 16.00.

2/2023

The selected solutions will be published

Sitra will publish information of the selected solutions in February 2023. Those continuing the process will receive the schedule for the follow-up application in February 2023.

2-3/
2023

The second stage of the call

The second stage of the call for solutions for the selected applicants will start in February/March. A more detailed schedule will be announced to those selected to continue the process at a later stage.

2-3/
2023

Further funding decisions are made

Further funding decisions and funding agreements concerning further funding will be concluded in February/March 2023.

5/
2023

Implementation of the projects receiving further funding

The projects receiving further funding will be implemented after signing the funding agreements. The implementation will end by May 2023.

5/
2023

Delivery of the final reports on the follow-up projects

Once the projects receiving further funding are completed, the recipient will deliver a final report on the follow-up project to Sitra by the end of May 2023 at the latest.

Appendices to the call for solutions

Further information

Applicants are advised to consult the following background material:

Down a Degree

The fair data economy maturity model guides companies to use data sustainably

Rulebook for a Fair Data Economy

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Tarmo Toikkanen
Senior Lead, A roadmap for a fair data economy

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