In this seminar, Wageningen and Eindhoven University researchers Sanneke Kloppenburg and Nick Verkade will present the overarching research proposal and their plans for fieldwork in the UK. They will also reflect on some of the first findings from their interviews and document study on community energy storage as a distinct storage mode in the UK.
Storage is often identified as a key component of the future low-carbon electricity system. In this project we focus on the wider social aspects of adding small-scale storage capacity to smart grids. For one, adding storage will challenge the existing distribution of tasks and responsibilities in smart energy systems. Second, (new) energy practices may emerge around storage, such as charging, energy management, and the trading, monitoring and consuming of stored energy. Moreover, new services and connections will develop around storage, smart mobility and energy communities.
The project examines the design and implementation of several modes of storage in actual households or communities in three different countries: The Netherlands, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Modes of storage refer to specific sociotechnical systems that allocate and distribute roles and responsibilities and costs and benefits in particular ways.
“Our aim is to understand the different roles of end-users in the design and use of electricity storage and the (potential) social and environmental consequences of different storage modes.”
Sanneke Kloppenburg and Nick Verkade – both visitors to DEMAND – talked about the early stages of a project on domestic energy storage. They are interested in different configurations or modes of storage ‘technology’ and related divisions of responsibility, and are focusing on deliberate innovations in this field in the UK, the Netherlands and Germany. As they explained, there is a long history of domestic energy storage, including storing wood, coal and hot water at home. (note: Dale Southerton also talked about storage in relation to ‘demand’ e.g. how clean and dirty laundry is stored and flows through the home – see previous seminar report in a previous Quacker). A bit more distantly, the home itself is a kind of storage device. Alongside this, gas is ‘stored’ beyond the home, and with electricity, big batteries (not AAA sized, and not those in laptops, phones, etc.) represent a ‘new’ development either seen as part of peak load management, as a means of managing ‘home’ renewable system with PV, or as a means of making greater use of cheaper power. The project involves tracking down the role of these new systems in experiment and trials – and of examining the institutional regimes they are part of, as a means of analysing home energy supply, and of learning how these technologies configure their users and/or enable ‘green’ citizen involvement. For example, some battery systems have algorithms that ‘learn’ domestic routines and manage charging and discharging to suit. One system involved new DC wiring. Different arrangements reveal or make invisible different ‘choices’ and are in turn associated with variously convincing business models, different benefits and roles for consumers or providers and diverse and changing regulatory environments.
Wednesday 27th April 2016 16.00-18.00, D72/MR11 FASS, Lancaster University