Capturing the societal value of smart energy systems

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Addressing key moral considerations of smart energy systems that are relevant for both now and in the future.

What is the goal of the project?

Smart energy systems, such as the smart electricity grid, are key for a successful energy transition. However, ethical concerns related to for example privacy, security and reliability, are often associated to their implementation. This creates risks for the deployment of these systems and the achievement of sustainability goals. The goal of the project is to develop innovative organizational models for smart energy systems that take ethical concerns into account.

What is the result of the project?

Aimed results consist of concrete recommendations for industry and policy on how to enhance the societal value and acceptability of smart energy systems in support of different moral societal values. These recommendations are derived using the capability approach as an ethical framework, case study research and through the development of a quantitative agent based simulation model of societal acceptability. The recommendations formulated aim at improving public support during the deployment and operation of smart grid projects in Amsterdam. Our ambition is to share final recommendations by 2019.

Who initiated the project and which organizations are involved?

The project is supported by the Dutch Science Foundation (NWO), the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions (AMS) and Through our valorization committee, research outcomes are evaluated with multiple public and industry partners.

What is the next step?

Next project steps include the investigation of smart grid case studies and the development of a quantitative model that goes beyond traditional social cost benefit analyses by simulating the effects of various normative convictions on smart grid technical and regulatory designs.

What can other cities learn from your project?

A specificity of our project is that we address key moral considerations of smart energy systems that are relevant for both now and in the future. This is important considering the long time span of smart grid deployment and operation.
By collaborating with public and industry, we aim at developing regulatory and technology design recommendations that are concrete and directly applicable to smart grid projects in Amsterdam. These recommendations could then be replicated to similar projects in other cities.