Energy Efficiency

, Volume 10, Issue 5, pp 1215–1234 | Cite as

Prosumers and smart grid technologies in Denmark: developing user competences in smart grid households

  • Meiken HansenEmail author
  • Bettina Hauge
Original Article


This paper explores and describes resident’s experiences from a smart grid project that involved 20 households in a rural area in Denmark and ran from 2014 to 2015. The study is based on qualitative data from the participating households, collected 6, 12 and 18 months after the start of the intervention. Drawing on theories of social practice and the three intertwined elements of a practice: competences, images and materials, the paper contributes with an in-depth analysis of a complex intervention, focusing on how the participants changed energy practices as a result of the installed smart grid technologies. Long-term studies on such comprehensive energy interventions and derived changes in domestic energy practices are exceptional. The results show that people relate to their natural environment in new ways and construct new practices according to the movements of the sun; that they gradually become skilled practitioners and prosumers; and that they also increase consumption and develop expectations towards the energy company, requesting better dialogue on energy consumption and control. The paper concludes with reflections and suggestions on how findings may be relevant to policy and research in the area.


Smart grids Energy intervention Prosumers Practice theory Competences 



We are grateful for the chance to work with Insero Live Lab, and we would like to thank the employees from Insero and the informants for taking the time to provide the necessary support and data, respectively. In particular, we would like to thank Munna Hoffmann-Jørgensen for valuable insights in the project setup and knowledge sharing that has been central for the research in this paper. We would also like to thank Eva-Karin Heiskanen, Kaisa Matschoss, Jouni Juntunen and the seven anonymous reviewers for helpful comments to an earlier version of this paper, and chief advisor Stefan Krüger Nielsen, Centre for Climate and Energy Economics, Danish Energy Agency, for comments on our policy suggestions.

Compliance with ethical standards


This research was funded by the iPower project (The Danish Council for Strategic Research and the Danish Council for Technology). The content of this paper is the sole responsibility of the authors and does not represent the view of the iPower project or involved partners.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.DTU Management Engineering, MAN-TIMTechnical University of DenmarkKongens LyngbyDenmark
  2. 2.Innovation Fund DenmarkCopenhagenDenmark

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