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On the Couch | Living on sunshine - when will renewables power our world?

First On the Couch in Otaniemi

Aalto Sustainable Business Club hosted its first ever event in Otaniemi this past Monday (1 December 2014) by taking the On the Couch –series to the newly opened Energy Garage. On the Couch is an event series where opinion leaders and students get together to discuss and debate about critically acclaimed issues. Instead of lecturing, the event is informal and challenges all kinds of opinions and participants from different fields of expertise. Energy Garage fitted the theme of the night perfectly, since it evolved around the future of our energy production with a headline “Living on Sunshine – (When) will renewables power our world?"
Aalto Sustainable Business Club
Discussing the nights theme where participants from various backgrounds; all Aalto schools were represented as well as different organisations and research groups. Also, helping the participants to dig deeper into the theme were two expert guests, Sanna-Liisa Sihto-Nissilä and Imran Asghar. Sanna-Liisa is a researcher and professor, who is focusing on energy policy and climate change and for example teaching the first course specializing in climate change at Aalto University. Imran, also a researcher, has focused his efforts in solar energy and especially photovoltaic solar energy systems. These two experts combined to be a perfect and very knowledgeable support for the night’s discussion.
Aalto Sustainable Business Club
The discussion was lively and sometimes even a bit heated over the highly debated matters. Starting from the basics of climate change the discussion quickly moved to technical side of solar energy systems. In these, Asghar was the professional to share his insights about solar energy technologies and their feasibility. Participants even got to see some of the latest technology, like photovoltaic solar panels on backpack, laptop and bigger panels exhibited on the wall of Energy Garage. The conversation continued to topics like complexity of the energy field and how many different things affect it, especially not forgetting the political nature of energy production through subsidies.  In this area Sihto-Nissilä was able to support the conversation with her vast knowledge of the field and offered good discussion points on energy policies in addition to the complexity of the whole field. From there on topics like energy storage, centralized vs. decentralized energy systems, netmetering and latest climate deals with USA and China were discussed among with some lively debating arising for and against nuclear power.
Aalto Sustainable Business Club
To put it all together, the night ended up with notes on the complexity of the energy production field, and we can’t really predict, what course the development will take in the future. But essentially it seems that the field is going through a massive change during the next few decades. It will certainly be interesting to follow what will happen, since the way we produce and consume energy is very important part of our everyday life, even if sometimes we tend to forget that, thinking  energy as just something that comes from the plug to power our electronics.
Aalto Sustainable Business Club
After the new board election next week, SBC heads to well-deserved holidays, but we are looking ahead for On the Couch –series to continue and having other events, such as Career Night in the coming spring! Also, if you have ideas and/or want to co-organize On the Couch with SBC, contact us through Facebook or by sending an email to!
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