In this project, we aim to explore existing smart grid environments by evaluating the performance of energy products and services as well as end-users perceptions and stakeholder processes in a significant number of realized smart grid pilots in the Netherlands and Austria.
The research in our project can be seen in the framework of three layers: Marketplace, Stakeholder/Adoption, and Technology.
Marketplace. We will evaluate existing smart grid energy products and services and create new solutions to shape changing energy market structures with a focus on the ‘good design’ for energy products that support safe and reliable operation of local smart grids, demand side management and electric mobility in smart grids with a high penetration of renewables. From the perspective of energymarkets, the microeconomics of smart energy products and services will be evaluated in terms of return of investments, levelled costs of electricity, and real-time pricing versus time of use pricing. In particular in the field of e-mobility financial comparisons will be made between electric charging and consumption of fuels in cars equipped with a combustion engine.
Stakeholders/Adoption. Adoption of end-users such as individual persons and communities is a significant issue with regards new features in smart grids such as demand side management, exchange of energy with other end-users, a high penetration of renewable energy at a local level, the required flexibility for prosumer interactions and e-mobility. By interviews and observations of all smart grid stakeholders (both end-users and utilities, policy makers, network operators et cetera) their experiences, expectations and modes of interaction between them, will be captured to understand the acceptance, preferences, and practices occurring during the pilot projects. Information resulting from these studies will subsequently be applied in co-evolutionary development of smart energy products and services.
Technology. Smart grids host a large number of diverse energy technologies and ICT. In the framework of our research project we have selected a limited number of technologies in local smart grids that will be evaluated and validated in more detail. These are smart grids’ safety aspects and overall network reliability regarding their energy and power flows, energy-efficiency, local sustainable energy production and consumption, demand side management by self-consumption of energy generated in the smart grid pilot, forecasting techniques and mutual trading of energy with neighbors, controlled charging of EV by renewable energy sources and patterns of use.