Post Docs in Companies (PoDoCo) 2021–2022: Radically people-centered approaches for increased local renewable energy utilization in Finland

Energy issues are often considered as distant by the general public; it is the responsibility of energy utilities, consultants and international power politics. At the same time, people are concerned of their increasing energy expenditures and the unsustainability of energy production. In our PoDoCo project with Helsinki-based energy consultancy VaasaETT (Vaasa Energy Think Tank) and Aalto University Department of Design we aim to research innovative but impactful ways to boost local renewable energy utilization and related energy business in Finland through radically people-centered approaches. In practise, we will design and develop ideas and solutions that will increase the general understanding of people on practical energy issues in terms that are meaningful for them. We believe that energy facts are simple, and that people are ready for the information: they just need to be presented with relevant facts in appropriate contexts and meaninful ways, including understandable units, such as euros/m²/year. The project will result in recommendations for policy and businesses e.g. in the building sector. This is a Post Docs in Companies (PoDoCo) programme project, funded by Tekniikan Edistämissäätiö.

Towards Eco-Welfare State ORSI 2021–

In the coming decade, societies must adapt their activities to meet environmental limits. Finland must transform from a welfare state into an eco-welfare state. At the same time, we must ensure that our political goals and the practical measures we take to achieve them are as just and socially acceptable as possible. The ORSI project, funded by the Strategic Research Council, is looking to address these challenges. I am currently involved in the project activities through my postdoctoral researcher position at Aalto University.

Energy poverty project ASSIST 2017–2020

ASSIST was a European project on energy poverty research and alleviation. I managed Finland’s project activities in the last phase at VaasaETT. A highlight for me was a webinar in March 2020, that I co-organised, focusing on energy poverty in Finland. There is a webinar report (in English) available, and in Finnish expert presentation slides and webinar recording. By date, Finland officially has no definition of energy poverty. But there are people experiencing energy poverty also in Finland, see survey results in Vulnerable Consumers Market Segmentation Report (D5.1), or reports on the second survey with vulnerable home owners in 2019 that focused on actual experiences of energy poverty, available in a form of a news bulletin (html) (PDF) and a survey report (in Finnish).

ASSIST was probably the first EC funded project in Finland fully focusing on energy poverty. Find key project publications under this website under Publications. These include and the final policy paper Vulnerable Consumers Protection Framework Paper (D7.5). See also interview videos where country coordinators comment project outcome.

I have archived main project deliverables to Publications.

Doctoral research project: The importance of frugal energy innovations in global energy transitions 2015–2019

On 20 June 2019, Aalto University admitted me the degree of Doctor of Science in Technology. During the exciting four years, I studied off-grid and island solutions and PV (photovoltaic) technologies and their use among rural communities in India at the New Energy Technologies Research Group in the School of Science at Aalto University, under the suprervision of Professor Peter D. Lund. Special focus was the technical reliability and sustainability of solar photovoltaic micro-grids. Download the dissertation Reliability and sustainability analyses of frugal solar photovoltaic micro-grid systems in emerging markets from Aaltodocs. Research work consisted of

  • technical data analysis for measured data and laboratory tests for micro-grid system components;
  • interviews with off-grid energy practitioners (industry survey conducted in 2018), micro-grid field staff and solar energy users;
  • field trips and observative methods in poor off-grid communities in northern India
  • multi-disciplinary sustainability analyses, reliability engineering and development studies.

My doctoral project is nicely presented in the New Global website with reflections on the global contribution of the work.

The project has been funded by the Tiina and Antti Herlin Foundation between 2016 and 2019, and Finnish Technology and Innovation Agency TEKES through New Global project of Aalto University in 2015 and 2016.

Power demand and technology adoption study in rural India 2017–2019

Since 2017, I contributed in a project on technical questions of energy systems as a Student Fellow at SAIS-ISEP. The two year project is an ambitious and comprehensive program on technology adoption, power demand, and willingness to pay for mini-grid power in rural India for the Initiative for Sustainable Energy Policy (ISEP) at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).

A Frugal Innovation Approach to Dynamic Electricity Pricing in Rural India: A Field Experiment 2016–2017

In 2016, I participated in an extensive measurement experiment of PV micro-grid supply and demand in Uttar Pradesh in India in collaboration with Columbia University and Boond Ltd., an Indian energy access company and a social enterprise. In the experiment, solar pico-grids were installed in seven habitations. In these habitations, the grid-connected households were randomly assigned different modes of electricity pricing on a weekly basis. The results were published in two papers Power availability and reliability of solar pico-grids in rural areas: a case study from northern India (doi:10.1016/j.seta.2018.08.005) and An Evaluation of Dynamic Electricity Pricing for Solar Micro-Grids in Rural India (doi:10.1016/j.esr.2018.05.007).

New Global of Aalto University 2015–2016

I am a member of an interdisciplinary innovation and action research network New Global. Through action research, experimentation and co-creation this network aims to foster the necessary capabilities for co-creating frugal and reverse innovations in global systems.


about the Author on Introduction.