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Paper RSE 14006624

Key success factors and barriers to end user engagement in smart grid projects


Behave Energy Conference 2014 3-6 , Settembre-2014.

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M. Thomtén (SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden), S. Maggiore (RSE SpA), E. Laes (VITO-MOL, Belgium), M. Boork (SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden), C. Kraan (ECN - Energy research Centre of the Netherlands), K. K. Hegermann (B.A.U.M. Consult GMBH, Berlin), M. Brolin (SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden), M. Uyterlinde (ECN - Energy research Centre of the Netherlands), K. Straver (ECN - Energy research Centre of the Netherlands)

S3C - Smart Consumer - Smart Customer – Smart Citizen

The goal of this paper is to analyze different European pilot projects through the application of a new conceptual model to allow the understanding of the factors of success and failure in the active end-users engagement within the smart grid.

This paper is based on the assumption that besides technical innovations, a key aspect of meeting future energy challenges is to integrate end users through a more active position in the power system. However, a coherent view on end user engagement and effects derived from electricity consumption behaviour is still lacking. The paper aims at exploring end users’ active participation in various European smart grid pilots by applying a newly developed conceptual framework. The purpose of the paper is to contribute to understanding what key success factors and barriers that exist for end user engagement in smart grids.

To do this, a staged research methodology was applied: results and experiences were collected from 32 existing smart grid pilots followed by a multi-level analysis to identify best practices, success factors and pitfalls. Seven areas and actions characterizing successful implementation of pilots were identified, including understanding the target group, testing before roll-out, creating personal relations etc. The key barriers include technical problems, expectations, non-viable business cases and shared decision power. The main conclusions are that the end user is not a black box, and that context-sensitivity is crucial to succeed in end user engagement.

Currently, developers of smart grid products and services tend to apply drivers related to economy and technology to achieve end user behavioural change. To support and facilitate other creative engagement strategies, the results from this paper will be implemented in a toolkit for smart grid practitioners, which will be made available online.

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