Ostrobothnia – the Energy Coast of Finland
In the region of Ostrobothnia, industrial and manufacturing constitutes an important sector forming nearly 40 percent of the regional GDP. Within the industrial and manufacturing sector, a key branch is renewable energy technology, including bio energy and wind power. The region’s cluster of energy technology companies is the largest energy cluster in the Nordic countries. The cluster consists of 140 companies with a combined turnover of 4.4 billion euros.
Ostrobothnia has actively strived towards positioning the region as a world leading actor within energy technology. The domain of energy technology is a prioritized area in the region’s smart specialization strategy in order to enhance regional innovation potential and growth. Today, the production of technology, electronics and machinery devices for environmentally friendly energy production is a central growth engine in the region. Companies in the energy clusters are highly export oriented. On average, 80 percent of the energy cluster’s services and products (e.g. diesel engines, power plants, electric motors, frequency converters, applications for wind power) are exported.
Figure 1. Energy Vaasa. Source: City of Vaasa. (Click to enlarge)
Vaasa Energy Business Innovation Center (VEBIC) and Technology Centre Merinova
The energy research activities in Vaasa took an international leap in 2017, when VEBIC (Vaasa Energy Business Innovation Center) was established. VEBIC provides an international research infrastructure that serves both academic and industrial needs. Internal combustion engine and fuel laboratories are complemented by a multi-disciplinary research platform focused on the wider business and societal impacts of new energy technologies. The Radical Innovation research group within VEBIC conducts developmental research within the domain of Energy Technology and Business Innovations.
The 140 companies in the energy cluster in the Vaasa region, all work in the global market. To stay competitive, the companies are constantly working on developing and improving their operations, products and services. Technology Centre Merinova is a regional development company with the task of supporting the energy cluster companies in these efforts.