The smart grid is promoted as one of the key elements in a low-carbon transition in many countries. In Denmark, the dominant framing of the smart grid emphasises the challenge of integrating much more wind power into the electricity system and using electricity for heating (heat pumps) and transport (electric cars). In the process of radically transforming the electricity system, strategic system builders need to align many forces, including consumers, who play an important role in the functioning of such large networked systems. System builders need to explore, for instance, whether and how users can be motivated to be flexible in relation to moving electricity consumption over time. This paper reports on one of the first smart-grid-related projects in Denmark in which consumer aspects have been central and where potentials for flexible electricity consumption have been tested. The aim of the paper is to explore what can be learned from such experiments and which roles they play in the construction of the smart grid. In this context, the concept of the ‘aligned user’ is introduced.
Bibliographical noteThe research for this paper was partly funded by the Danish strategic research program on Sustainable Energy and Environment (DSF 2104-09-0085)
- Smart grid
- Flexible electricity consumption
- User-oriented innovation
- Low carbon transition