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What separates consumer perspectives on specific Smart Grid-enabled services and technologies?

Recent industry publications have highlighted important research being led by DNV GL about consumer attitudes and engagement with the Smart Grid.  The Smart Grid Observer referenced both studies in their Friday the 13th issue under the headings:

  • “Consumer Awareness for Smart Energy Services and Technologies at an All-Time High”
  • “Dutch City Plans to Construct World’s Largest Smart Grid”

Here’s more information about these two noteworthy projects that are helping to advance the industry’s knowledge about what energy consumers want today.

What Consumers Think

The Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative (SGCC) issued its groundbreaking study on the Empowered Consumer.  Based on a survey of 1,500 households, the SGCC Research Committee chaired by DNV GL’s Gomathi Sadhasivan, grouped consumers into segments that generally think alike about the various services that smart meters can provide.  The study showed that awareness of the smart grid is at an all-time high, and that consumers seek the convenience and bill savings that smart energy technologies offer.  Barriers still exist – like reliability and first cost of devices – but larger numbers than ever indicate interest in smart-grid enabled services like time-differentiated pricing.  DNV GL is increasingly employing segmentation research to help utilities understand how households’ socioeconomic and lifestyle characteristics relate to their demand for energy and utility services.  Contact Gomathi Sadhasivan  for more information on applying these market research techniques.

How Consumers Behave

Surveys are great at suggesting trends and attitudes, but how do consumers REALLY behave in regard to a given product or service?  That question is what’s been behind a longitudinal study that DNV GL sponsored called PowerMatching City, where an entire community of houses was built and populated in Groeningen, Netherlands a city of total population around 200,000 homes.  From 2011 to 2013, DNV GL field-tested the features of a fully energy-smart community with 42 households living and working in the living laboratory.  The Smart Grid Observer article notes that this one-of-a-kind research investment represents the first full application of smart grid technology in a real-world environment.

Now, a next phase is being launched by DNV GL and other partners to expand the pilot by building a smart grid to connect 10,000 to 100,000 households. The PowerMatching City trial that concluded in 2013 found that the smart grid “is technically feasible and could yield up to 3.5 billion Euros in savings.”  The full research article can be found in Cities Today.  This expanded phase will include such features as a micro-grid installation, hybrid heat pumps, electric vehicles, smart charging stations and storage systems for electricity, gas, heat and gas pending identification of the final group of technology and financial partners.  For more information on PowerMatching City, download our report.

These two studies clearly demonstrate that DNV GL is at the forefront of research into how to engage consumers with the energy infrastructures, technologies and services of the future.

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