Smart energy technologies for the collective: time-shifting, demand reduction and household practices in a Positive Energy Neighbourhood in Norway

Fernanda Guasselli, Apostolos Vavouris, Lina Stankovic, Vladimir Stankovic, Sébastien Didierjean, Kirsten Gram-Hanssen

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Abstract

The climate and energy crises are hastening the implementation of Positive Energy Districts/Neighbourhoods (PEDs/PENs) in European cities in line with the goal of net zero emissions by 2050. Demand-side energy reduction and flexibility are crucial to meeting this target by matching demand with local renewable energy production; however, it has not yet been empirically investigated in PEDs/PENs. Addressing this gap, we aimed to investigate households' energy practices in a Positive Energy Neighbourhood in Norway, focusing on the role of smart technologies for demand-side reduction and flexibility. A mixed methods approach was applied, combining in-depth and semi-structured interviews, house tours, actual energy consumption, and simulated solar energy production presented as narratives. The results indicated the need to rethink smart energy technologies to address the collective nature of PEDs/PENs by showing that (i) different ways of interpreting and domesticating these technologies impact demand reduction and flexibility of households with implications at the neighbourhood level, (ii) the individualistic design approach of smart energy technologies does not afford community interaction in terms of knowledge transfer and collective engagement, and (iii) collective representations of energy affordability and convenience attributed to such technologies may act as barriers to households' engagement with demand-side strategies. These results can be seen as recommendations for PEDs/PENs stakeholders and policies to foster the development of community-based smart energy technologies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103436
Number of pages12
JournalEnergy Research and Social Science
Volume110
Early online date30 Jan 2024
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Jan 2024

Keywords

  • demand-side energy management
  • smart home technologies
  • renewable energy sources
  • prosumers
  • electric vehicles
  • social practices

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