Creating awareness of energy consumption patterns is the first step in improving those patterns and moving away from excessive peak-hour consumption. Using smart grid technology, awareness of household and electric vehicle (EV) consumption can be put in context with solar panel generation. Combined with social incentives and gamification in an online platform, consumers are motivated to collectively reduce peak-hour consumption.
After two years, the me² project is coming to an end. The project's researchers investigated which incentives are effective in activating demand response and maintaining user engagement. A new Smart City Aggregator, the energy platform me², was tested in two six months long pilots, in Portugal and the Netherlands. A significant difference in energy needs and level of awareness became evident. For one test group, getting insight into their energy usage with smart meters and an innovative interface was a great way to discover how to be more environmentally friendly. The other test group consisted of pioneers: EV drivers with solar panels who were already doing their best to be as green as possible. In which country were the pioneers? Do social incentives work better in Portugal or the Netherlands? And which of the two groups managed to change their peak-hour consumption?
To learn more about the me² project, have a look at our final publication and other results on the project website or at the Urban Technology research programme of Hogeschool van Amsterdam (HvA).
The Dutch pilot of the me2 project was launched on 1 September 2017 and will continue until the end of February 2018. It involves 50 households with a private electric vehicle in an around the Randstad area, with 10 of those in Amsterdam. A kick-off workshop was held on 7 June, 2017: 20 people took part and were treated to a presentation by the HvA team, were able to meet other pilot participants and ask questions about the project.
During the summer months, the pilot participants received and installed their smart meters (Cloogy’s) and created their me2 accounts, so that a baseline for their regular energy usage could be collected.
This is the second pilot of the me2 project, with the first one being in Lisbon, Portugal. The community composition differs from the Portuguese pilot. Although most users are centred around urban areas, such as Amsterdam and The Hague, the Dutch pilot has participants from different areas of the Netherlands.
The goal of the pilots is to test the quality and experience of the integrated energy monitoring platform that is me2. In particular elements of direct incentives, gamification and online community will be explored. The platform is currently exclusively available to pilot participants.
Of the Dutch participants, 75% own a private charging point and a little over half of the 50 households also produce their own renewable electricity using PV installations; 80% of the participants (usually) charge their EV at home, with the other 20% charging exclusively at public charging points, either in their neighbourhood, at work or at a fast charger wherever they are. The results of the Dutch Pilot will be presented in early 2018.
The project me² represents a new market place for urban actors in which a local community of electric vehicle (EV) users and local smart meter (SM) owners are brought together through means of a local urban online community. The combination of these technologies in a community allows to integrate mobility with electricity, to balance the grid, to reduce electricity costs, and to enable a feeling of local belonging. me2 enables urban demand-side management, i.e. aims to modify consumer demand for energy such as using less energy during peak hours in an urban community. The project applies the technical and academic state of the art regarding smart grids, electric mobility, business models and policy incentives to the development of an innovative service concept, which is validated and optimized in two practical pilots and demonstrations in urban communities in Amsterdam and Lisbon.