Passion for Smart Technologies

My background lies in power electronics, electric drives, and industrial management, and I have graduated from the Helsinki University of Technology (now Aalto University) with a Master’s in Electrical Engineering. My career path is technical-commercial, and I have conducted business studies in university during the years, too. Along with working 15 years in research and development management and project management, I have gained expertise from different positions in project and offer engineering. Even though I have worked a lot in R&D, I have not just stayed in the laboratory but actively visited suppliers, customers, and organizations all around the world. Thanks to that, I have wide experience in the versatility of cultures on several continents.

A Double Hat in Head

Ensto found me through recruitment channels in 2020. Initially, I started as the Program Manager responsible for leading our arc suppression coil program, which I still take care of today. In addition, I work as the Head of R&D, Smart Technologies. There are at least these two hats in my head! I live in Lahti with my wife and two school-age children, and currently, I work mostly from home like almost everyone else. My office and department, though, are in Helsinki. The smart technologies R&D team was founded on top of Ensto’s Power Electronics Solutions team, and we are aiming towards utilizing state of the art cyber secured IoT and sensor technologies in addition to power quality and electronic solutions. I have a great team with smart people working to develop future solutions for our customers.

Building My Expertise

I like challenges and think that everything I have done during my career has made me the expert I am today. My experience is long and wide; the roles have been versatile including leadership and customer interface. I have learned a lot by doing, and from other people. In my opinion, a leader’s most important task is to help smart and competent people to do their jobs so that the common goals are reached. Before that you need to find the best talents. I think the electricity distribution business is interesting because over the next decade there will happen more than in the past decades combined, thanks to the energy transition which will take place with ever increasing amount of distributed energy resources (DERs) and electric vehicles (EVs). Both the energy sector and the world are changing fast and have an increasing demand for electricity – to adapt to these fast changes smart new solutions are needed – what a great opportunity!

Solar Energy Leads the Way

My first experiences with electricity and solar energy date back to the days I was 12 years old. In a free-time club we built an extra low voltage solar energy system from the very beginning, and the experience has affected my life and perhaps also the study choices. The thought about clean energy and, ultimately, improving the world, is very fascinating. Hence, I have been interested in new technical solutions since those early years. I would like to make people's lives easier – including myself.

Helping the Customer is Our Target

Ensto’s target is to bring in new smart solutions to enable distribution grid’s safety, reliability, quality, and predictive maintenance. We all need to recede from the old, which brings a whole new need for electricity companies to transform the networks. There is a need to increase remote monitoring, control, and automation of the grid – to know what is happening and to proactively manage the grid. This will totally change the role of the electricity companies from reacting to issues to managing the grid predictively and proactively. Our solutions that utilize the cyber secure IoT and sensor technologies will help our customers to manage growing sustainability challenges and network reliability requirements.

Passion for Smart and Safe Distribution Grid

A large sector of our interest is prevention of forest fires caused by the electricity network. Wildfires are a real problem and getting even worse due to climate change – and the consequences are alarming. That is why    improving the network quality and predictive remote monitoring solutions should be the passion of all Ensto people. This is of huge importance geographically and environmentally, so why not use smart technologies to improve our grids?

Esa Väkeväinen

The writer of the blog, Esa Väkeväinen, works as the Head of R&D at Ensto in Finland.