IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/gam/jsusta/v10y2018i10p3738-d176275.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Who ‘Uses’ Smart Grids? The Evolving Nature of User Representations in Layered Infrastructures

Author

Listed:
  • Antti Silvast

    () (Department of Anthropology, Durham University, Durham DH1 3LE, UK)

  • Robin Williams

    () (Science, Technology and Innovation Studies, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH1 1LZ, UK)

  • Sampsa Hyysalo

    () (Aalto School of Art, Design and Architecture, Aalto University, FI-00076 AALTO Espoo, Finland)

  • Kjetil Rommetveit

    () (Centre for the Study of the Sciences and the Humanities, University of Bergen, 5007 Bergen, Norway)

  • Charles Raab

    () (Politics and International Relations, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH8 9LN, UK)

Abstract

This article addresses the anticipated use and users of smart energy technologies and the contribution of these technologies to energy sustainability. It focuses on smart grids and smart energy meters. Qualitative accounts given by European technology developers and experts reveal how they understand the final use and social impacts of these technologies. The article analyzes these accounts and compares the UK’s smart meter rollout with experiences from other European countries, especially Finland, to provide insights into the later adoption stages of smart energy and how its impacts have evolved. The analysis highlights significant differences in the likely intensity and manner of user engagement with smart grids and meters: depending first on whether we are considering existing technologies or smart technologies that are expected to mature sometime in the next decade, and second on whether the ‘user’ is the user of smart meters or the user of an entire layer of new energy services and applications. By deploying the strategic approach developed in the article, smart grid developers and experts can give more explicit attention to recognizing the descriptions of ‘users’ in smart-grid projects and to the feasibility of these expectations of ‘use’ in comparison to the possibilities and limits of energy services and applications in different country contexts. The examination of user representations can also point out the need for further technology and service development if some of the envisioned user profiles and user actions appear unrealistic for presently available technologies.

Suggested Citation

  • Antti Silvast & Robin Williams & Sampsa Hyysalo & Kjetil Rommetveit & Charles Raab, 2018. "Who ‘Uses’ Smart Grids? The Evolving Nature of User Representations in Layered Infrastructures," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(10), pages 1-21, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:10:p:3738-:d:176275
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/10/10/3738/pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/10/10/3738/
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Hug March & Álvaro-Francisco Morote & Antonio-Manuel Rico & David Saurí, 2017. "Household Smart Water Metering in Spain: Insights from the Experience of Remote Meter Reading in Alicante," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(4), pages 1-18, April.
    2. Verbong, Geert P.J. & Beemsterboer, Sjouke & Sengers, Frans, 2013. "Smart grids or smart users? Involving users in developing a low carbon electricity economy," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 117-125.
    3. Petra Mesarić & Damira Đukec & Slavko Krajcar, 2017. "Exploring the Potential of Energy Consumers in Smart Grid Using Focus Group Methodology," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(8), pages 1-17, August.
    4. James Stewart & Sampsa Hyysalo, 2008. "Intermediaries, Users And Social Learning In Technological Innovation," International Journal of Innovation Management (ijim), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 12(03), pages 295-325.
    5. Darby, Sarah J., 2012. "Metering: EU policy and implications for fuel poor households," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 98-106.
    6. Harriet Bulkeley & Gareth Powells & Sandra Bell, 2016. "Smart grids and the constitution of solar electricity conduct," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 48(1), pages 7-23, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Murto, Pekka & Jalas, Mikko & Juntunen, Jouni & Hyysalo, Sampsa, 2019. "The difficult process of adopting a comprehensive energy retrofit in housing companies: Barriers posed by nascent markets and complicated calculability," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 132(C), pages 955-964.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    expectations; infrastructure; Science and Technology Studies; smart grid; smart meters; sociology of user representations.;

    JEL classification:

    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics
    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q3 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:10:p:3738-:d:176275. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (XML Conversion Team). General contact details of provider: https://www.mdpi.com/ .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.