“Key success factors and barriers to end user engagement in smart grid projects”

S3C paper submission for the Behave conference 2014

S3C consortium member Magdalena Boork (SP) presented the paper "Key success factors and barriers to end user engagement in smart grid projects” at the Behave conference in Oxford on September 3-4, 2014.


This paper is based on the assumption that besides technical innovations, a key aspect of meeting future energy challenges is to integrate end users through a more active position in the power system. However, a coherent view on end user engagement and effects derived from electricity consumption behaviour is still lacking. The paper aims at exploring end users’ active participation in various European smart grid pilots by applying a newly developed conceptual framework. The purpose of the paper is to contribute to understanding what key success factors and barriers that exist for end user engagement in smart grids. To do this, a staged research methodology was applied: results and experiences were collected from 32 existing smart grid pilots followed by a multi-level analysis to identify best practices, success factors and pitfalls. Seven areas and actions characterizing successful implementation of pilots were identified, including understanding the target group, testing before roll-out, creating personal relations etc. The key barriers include technical problems, expectations, non-viable business cases and shared decision power. The main conclusions are that the end user is not a black box, and that context-sensitivity is crucial to succeed in end user engagement.
Currently, developers of smart grid products and services tend to apply drivers related to economy and technology to achieve end user behavioural change. To support and facilitate other creative engagement strategies, the results from this paper will be implemented in a toolkit for smart grid practitioners, which will be made available online.

Download the full paper here (PDF, 129KB).