From the 20th to the 23rd of April, the CommUnity in Stockholm organised an amazing 3-day trip to Gotland, a small island located in SouthEast Sweden. The Region of Gotland is undertaking new actions and creating new policies to become a more sustainable island for the future. Indeed, the island has set the goal to have a 100% climate-neutral energy supply by 2025.
Two main visits were organised during this trip, one to the Municipality of the Gotland in Visby (capital of the island), and the other to the largest wind-farm in Sweden, located in Näsudden. The main intention of these visits was to have a closer look on how the Municipality is dealing with the shift towards a more sustainable future, and building up a long-lasting relationship between the InnoEnergy CommUnity and the local government of Gotland, together with energy companies in the area such as GEAB. Within this context, a contest was organised by the CommUnity in the Municipality, where students and other members of InnoEnergy had to present their proposals to tackle seven different challenges Gotland is facing nowadays. These proposals were then evaluated by a professional jury composed of two representatives of InnoEnergy and professors at KTH, two representatives from the Municipality of Gotland, one representative from GEA, and Lukas Keller representing the CommUnity.
DAY 1: Welcome and start working!
After a round of cheerful applauses in Nynäshamn harbor, the Gotland Adventure got started and the CommUnity members headed off on the ferry to Sweden’s biggest and most beautiful island. Naps, late lunches and different games filled the 3-hour ferry trip to Gotland. Once there, the Municipality’s representative Helena Andersson welcomed the CommUnity (CU) to the island, and then the team headed off to the accommodation in Fröjel, located in the western coast of Gotland.
The organising team, together with the CommUnity manager in Sweden Lukas Keller, gave a small presentation in the conference room of the resort to introduce the Gotland Adventure and the activities that would be carried out during the weekend.
The Organizing Team
The first activity was to work on seven different energy-related challenges that Gotland is currently facing, and to propose different solutions to the local government.
Since CU members only had a few hours to work together, the objective was not to create very specific proposals, but to come up with innovative and creative ideas that could surprise and interest the Municipality. The challenges presented to the students were:
- Green Harbour
- Sustainable mobility of people in Gotland
- Ecotourism in Gotland
- Sustainable supply of food and goods
- Compatibility of Solar and Wind energy
- Wastewater and drinking water management
- Cement plant emissions
CU members and other InnoEnergy members had the opportunity to showcase their work the following day in front of the Municipality and local companies, presenting the different solutions in the contest organised by the CommUnity.
Teams working on the challenges
With no further delay, everyone gathered in groups and started working hard until dinner time to provide their best solution. The working atmosphere was really motivating, and mixed groups of different InnoEnergy Master’s Programmes (including MSc RENE, MSc EMINE, MSc SENSE, MSc SELECT and MSc Energy for Smart Cities), that together with alumni and other InnoEnergy members, proved to be the best combination to approach each challenge from every possible angle. Simply great!
DAY 2: Municipality Contest!
The alarm and the early lights of northern latitudes woke everybody up at 8:30am for the second day in Gotland!
According to the agenda, the morning was dedicated for the groups to work on the challenges. Most of the participants preferred to work in their apartments in a more relaxed atmosphere to finalise the last details and prepare the presentations for the different stakeholders. When midday arrived, as someone once said, “when one's belly is empty, one’s only problem is an empty belly”, so the group gathered together at 12:00 and headed to Visby to have a proper lunch and to finally celebrate the contest!
Lunch provided by the Municipality
The event started with an introductory speech from Helena Andersson, the leader of the department in charge of the energy policies and transportation on the island. She welcomed us first and introduced the region of Gotland. After this brief introduction, Helena outlined the current energy situation on the island, and announced some of the future plans the Municipality wants to undertake to become a cleaner and a more sustainable community by 2025.
The second speech was given by Johan Malmros, a representative of GotlandsHEM, a company focused on the energy in buildings, and who is currently working on the development of Sustainable Smart private houses and public buildings. He told us about the current projects being developed in the area, and stated that they are increasing the use of bioenergy as a heating source in households without being able to connect to the district heating network, as well as implementing new measures to improve energy efficiency in the whole sector. Last but not least, Jeevan Jayasuriya, professor at KTH and coordinator of two InnoEnergy MSc programmes, presented the Master’s School to the Municipality in order to strengthen a long-lasting relationship between InnoEnergy and Gotland.
Helena Anderson (left), Johan Malmros (centre), and Jeevan Jayasuriya (right)
After a little break the contest was about to start! The time had arrived for the students to present their proposals to the jury. The jury was composed of six members from the different interested parties involved in this trip: Helena Andersson, representing the Municipality of Gotland; Jeevan Jayasuriya and Reza Fakhrai, representing InnoEnergy Master’s School and KTH; Johan Malmros from GotlandsHEM; Bengt Olof Grahn representing GEAB, one of the largest energy companies in Sweden; and finally, Lukas Keller on behalf of the CommUnity.
There were up to nine groups that were presenting that day, trying to provide solutions to seven different energy-related challenges that Gotland is currently facing. The following is a brief description of all the challenges that the students had to present:
- Green Harbour: Find an environmentally sustainable way to connect large touristic cruise ships to the local grid for 10-12 hours per day, which are expected to be anchored in the harbour of Visby the following summer.
- Sustainable mobility of people in Gotland: Find a more sustainable way for people to move around the island and inside the capital, using the whole potential of the region in terms of renewables and biogas production. This includes the management of the biogas stations or possible charging points.
- Ecotourism in Gotland: Come up with a cleaner and more sustainable way of moving tourists around the island to carry out different activities in the natural areas and along the coast of Gotland.
- Sustainable supply of food and goods: Optimise the logistics for transportation of goods and food in and out of the island (imports and exports) and their distribution on the island (production facilities, farms, supermarkets, households, etc.), so that it is performed in a more efficient manner.
- Compatibility of Solar and Wind energy: Analyse the development of Smart Grid and storage systems for the combination of renewable resources during summer period, when solar and wind energy work at full capacity with favourable meteorological conditions.
- Wastewater and drinking water management: Suggest the best way to implement renewable systems to supply power to the existing desalination plant and for the future (i.e. hybrid coupled system).
- Cement plant emissions: Analyse the implementation of different technologies to reduce CO2 emissions, such as carbon capture or carbon storage systems.
It was an intense contest lasting roughly two hours. The jury was impressed with the high level of the presentations and congratulated the teams for the well-done job. All the teams pitched many interesting and well-structured ideas, some of which were also said to be kept for further study according to the feedback from the jury.
Some groups presenting challenges (top row); A few moments during presentations and the jury of the contest (bottom row)
After a coffee break to restore our energy, it was time for the jury to decide the best presentation according to certain criteria that were given to them before the event had started.
After some discussion, challenge number six was the winner of the contest! The group that was working on this challenge consisted of Nicolas Werckmeister (MSc Energy for Smart Cities, Alex Stark (MSc SELECT), Chris Parker (MSc RENE) and Delaram Pourasghar (MSc SENSE).
Contest Winners (Challenge 6: Wastewater and drinking water management)
The Contest participants and jury members
DAY 3: Visit to the Windfarm!
Still feeling great from the afternoon in Visby, everyone was ready to enjoy the outdoors in the new sunny day that was starting in Gotland. It was the day to visit the largest wind farm in Sweden in the small region of Näsudden, located in the southeast of the island.
In Gotland, there is high potential for wind power production due to its windy climate and large deserted coasts. Wind power currently provides around 15% of the island’s total electricity demand, and in the future, they want to increase the wind power capacity to supply clean energy to the mainland (Sweden) as well. The Näsudden wind farm consists of 80 wind power stations with an installed capacity of about 40 MW.
We left the resort at 9:30am sharp and picked up our guide for the tour, Andreas Wickman, at the entrance of the village. After some introduction, he explained the history of wind power in Gotland and gave some details about the wind farm in Näsudden. Afterwards, we began the guided bus tour along the wind farm, which took around two hours. The students could see the whole installation with all the wind turbines and control substations. Moreover, Andreas let us enter in one of the wind turbines to see its real dimensions and performance. All the members who joined the trip were amazed! Some of them even claimed that it was their first time at a wind farm.
Again, lunchtime arrived and we could enjoy another exquisite lunch, this time in the canteen of the windfarm: Swedish homemade lasagna!
Group picture at the Windfarm (left), a row of wind turbines (right top), inside one of the turbines (bottom centre), and the photographer of the journey, Leon Haupt (bottom right).
After lunch, it was time to chill out and enjoy the touristic part of the island a bit. No better place to do so than the rocky coast of HolmHällar, where everyone could take proper pictures for their social networks, or play outdoor sports along the coast.
Heading back to the resort after a beautiful afternoon, we prepared everything to celebrate the last CommUnity dinner with some barbecue. It would be our last time all together on the island. Everyone was happy, laughing, and relaxed after such a good weekend, hoping that we could spend one more day in the place known as The Pearl of the Baltic Sea.
In Collaboration with The CommUnity Post
The Gotland Adventure: If you want to learn more, have a look at the video and article in the CommUnity Platform.
The Gotland Organizers Team:
Enric Perarnau (main organiser)
CommUnity Post Review Team: