Review: S3C Midterm Conference

27.5.2014, Évora, Portugal

Last Tuesday, on May 27th, 2014, the S3C consortium has successfully hosted their project’s Midterm Conference on the optimized activation and engagement of consumers, customers and citizens in Smart Grid projects.

More than 70 people from the fields of energy and behavioural science travelled to Évora, Portugal, to get an insight into the intermediate results of the S3C project regarding the facilitated inclusion of end users of energy in Smart Energy and Smart Grid projects as well as the roll-out of new Smart Energy products and services.

After a welcome speech from João Torres, the CEO of EDP Distribuição, and introducing words from Irene Bonvissuto (European Commission), the conference started with the first of its three main topical panels moderated by Ludwig Karg (B.A.U.M. Consult GmbH).

The first panel – "The S3C project:  First results and discussion with sister project ADVANCED” outlined the vision, research questions, approach and planned output of the S3C project. What’s more, Matthijs Uyterlinde (ECN) presented seven "Cross-cutting success factors” for end user engagement derived from the analysis of 32 case studies on past and ongoing Smart Energy projects. Marina Lombardi (Enel Distribuzione), the project leader of S3C’s sister project ADVANCED, introduced the ADVANCED approach to empowering smart consumers and presented first results. The S3C panel closed with an outlook on the S3C toolkit website that is currently expected to be launched on July 31st, 2014.
In the second panel – "Project panel: Experiences with involving end users in smart grid projects” experts from six renowned Smart Energy projects from the S3C family of projects addressed the following questions: Which experiences have been made in Smart Grid projects with activating and engaging end users? Where do they overlap and where do they differ? How would the present project managers see their respective involvement approach: consumer-, customer- or citizen-oriented? How do the projects compare in engaging people at different stages of the project? The following projects and companies presented their respective insight on the topic: BEN Energy (Tobias Graml), LINEAR (Wim Cardinaels), Amsterdam Smart City (Saskia Muller), VALUES4ALL (Elwin ter Horst), Energy@Home (Fabio Bellifemine), InovCity (Luís Cunha).
One of the event's main attractions was the fieldtrip to the InovCity test site in Évora. Participants of the S3C Midterm Conference got to visit the InovCity showroom (left), from where e.g. street lights can be remote controlled. Furthermore, the field trip went to a Café in which the energy consumption could be observed and controlled via an in-house display. The two last stations of the trip where a secondary substation and an Electric Vehicle charging point.
The Social / Behavioural Science Panel revolved around end user behaviour in Smart Grid projects and was guided by the following questions: How do different academic / theoretical disciplines relate to end user engagement in Smart Grid projects? What can be learned from psychological, social marketing, sociological practice theory? How have such approaches been included in Smart Grid projects so far? What could be changed in the future to facilitate inter-disciplinary work on end user engagement? Their respective central findings on this topic were presented by  Americo Mateus (Ideas (R)evolution, Creative University of Lisbon), Ruth Rettie (Social Marketing, Kingston College London), Henrik Karlstrom (Norwegian University of Science and Technology, IEA DSM Task 24), Erik Laes (VITO), Cajsa Bartusch (Uppsala University) and Michele de Nigris (RSE, ISGAN).
The conference was covered by the Portuguese regional press diário do SUL. To see their photo album of the event, click here.

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