A behavioural framework and review of smart grid projects

At this age the world is facing environmental problems as a consequence of human intervention, among these problems are: global warming and urban air pollution. A big part of these problems is rooted in our energy consumption.

This resulted in new energy policies. As a result the Netherlands is transitioning towards a more sustainable energy supply, with more decentralized energy production and electric vehicles. This results in challenges for the electricity grid. Consumer participation can be part of the solution to make sure we are ready for our future energy needs. This study provides a review of smart grid project characteristics and end user behaviour in the Netherlands. At this moment several smart grid projects are conducted in the Netherlands, however an oversight of these projects is missing. In this study different smart grid initiatives in the Netherlands were identified. The characteristics and outcomes of these projects in terms of end user behaviour were evaluated using literature from both the fields of biology and psychology. This resulted in a behavioural framework and a technology design framework that aids in the development of successful demand response innovations.

Main findings

  1. Demand response that targets consumer behaviour provides societal involvement, engagement, low societal costs and a viable option for grid flexibility.
  1. In combination with smart use of stimuli and facilitating technology sustainable end user participation is possible. This can be accomplished by targeting normative, gain, hedonic and social aspects of individuals and by creating self-learning software that provides the best incentives for each individual.
  1. For reliable and effective demand response it is advisable to use automated forms that do not interfere with consumer routine, such as automated heat pumps, batteries and other innovations. A precondition for both aspects of the advice is modular & standardized grid software, IT infrastructure and changes in legislation in order to facilitate a flexible energy grid.