Accepted Paper:

Experimenting for flexible and sustainable electricity consumption in a cooperative.  


Nick Verkade (Eindhoven University of Technology)

Paper short abstract:

A renewable energy community case study, in which social practice theory is applied to consider emerging energy practices which depict a vision of energy citizenship. Through intermediation of ICT, new and conflicting practices and meanings are introduced into domestic energy management.

Paper long abstract:

In this presentation I will offer a Practice Theoretical approach to the issue of flexibility of domestic electricity consumption, building on the experiences from a smart grid pilot project. The project entails an IT platform co-created by Dutch DNO Enexis, IT developer Shifft and a local energy cooperative. The platform integrates smart meter data and predictions of local renewable supply and demand to provide users with feedback and advice on timing of use. Energy consumption is problematized and the goals of being self-sufficient and managing peak loads in the local grid are united. I approach this pilot as an experiment for energy citizenship (Goulden 2014) in which a specific set of practices is aimed to be introduced with novel technology. Through rendering (renewable) energy visible by the intermediation of an community-level ICT platform, users are faced with new practices and conflicting meanings for thinking and dealing with energy. Main contribution of this paper is to in more detail consider this bundle of energy management practices and their place in household energy performance. Additionally it is an application of social practice theory to a specific energy-related case. Results will show that the innovation's actual effect on energy consumption can be explained through certain practice elements (not) being shared between practices of managing and consuming (Shove et al 2012). Results are also shown to be heavily linked to what generally is thought of as 'institutional context'; in line with Nicolini (2012) through zooming out, a further exploration of this realm of practices is proposed.

Panel T098
Energy Experiments