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End User Research in PowerMatching City II

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Smart Grids from a Global Perspective

Part of the book series: Power Systems ((POWSYS))


In PowerMatching City, the leading Dutch smart grid project, 40 households participated in a field laboratory designed for sustainable living. The participating households were equipped with various decentralized energy sources (PV and micro combined heat-power units), hybrid heat pumps, smart appliances, smart meters, and an in-home display. Stabilization and optimization of the network was realized by trading energy on the market. To reduce peak loads on the smart grid and to be able to make optimal use of the decentralized energy sources, two energy services were developed jointly with the end users: Smart Cost Savings enabled users to keep the costs of energy consumption as low as possible, and Sustainable Together enabled them to become a sustainable community. Furthermore, devices could be controlled automatically, smartly, or manually to optimize the energy use of the households. Quantitative and qualitative studies were conducted to provide insight into the experiences and behaviours of end users. In this chapter, these experiences and behaviours are described. The chapter argues that end users: (1) prefer to consume self-produced energy, even when it is not the most efficient strategy to follow, (2) prefer feedback on costs over feedback on sustainability, and (3) prefer automatic and smart control, even though manual control of appliances felt most rewarding. Furthermore, we found that experiences and behaviours were fully dependent on trust between community members, and on trust in both technology (ICT infrastructure and connected appliances) and the participating parties.

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    After analyzing the first results, we included some extra measures in the questionnaire to explore the value of autarky (see Kasl et al. 1964; Weinstein et al. 2012). Analysis revealed that autarky was related to the desire to be less dependent on larger energy suppliers and to the desire to be self-sufficient as a household (which was slightly more desirable than being self-sufficient as a community).


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The author would like to thank all residents of PowerMatching City who participated in this research. Also, the author thankfully acknowledges Christian van Someren for his valuable comments and suggestions to improve the quality of this chapter, and Albert van den Noort for providing comments on an earlier version of this chapter. Finally, the author acknowledges the consortium partners DNV GL, Essent, Enexis, Gasunie, ICT Automatisering and TNO. The here reported research was supported by an IPIN subsidy program of the Dutch government.

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Correspondence to Carina J. Wiekens .

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Wiekens, C.J. (2016). End User Research in PowerMatching City II. In: Beaulieu, A., de Wilde, J., Scherpen, J. (eds) Smart Grids from a Global Perspective. Power Systems. Springer, Cham.

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  • Print ISBN: 978-3-319-28075-2

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-319-28077-6

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