Fostering User Engagement for Innovative Demand Response For Effective Flexibility

Thursday September 8th, 2022 | 9h - 10:30h | Workshop | Hybrid

The transformation of the energy sector demands a change in consumers’ roles. Past work has attested the difficulties in motivating consumers to engage with new energy services (e.g. self-consumption & peertrading). These difficulties are even more acute in the case of flexibility services, since users (i.e., energy consumers/prosumers, organised at community, building or household level), do not always understand the value these services bring and/or face fundamental barriers that prevent them to co-create this service. Among other barriers, interaction with the technology enabling flexibility services seems to create stress among users which often results in rejection.

The workshop dealt with user research and engagement as the key driver for innovation of digital & technology-based demand response solutions, with the aim to frame a good user experience and an effective energy & flexibility performance, which will help customers engage more in new energy services. The workshop offered an overview on experiences from user engagement activities at the pilot sites of the 5 sister projects and focused on knowledge exchange to improve implemented strategies, tools and platforms. The workshop offered a unique opportunity for sharing findings and results when implementing the project activities at the corresponding pilot sites. All projects shared a vision of advancing digital & technology-based solutions for the overall energy transition process at a EU level, the flexibilization of the energy market, new demand-response strategies/solutions, the promotion and creation of active citizens and energy communities, and the development of new services, actors, and roles within the current and the future energy ecosystem.

Apart from providing an overview of the engagement methodologies and key activities that each project has followed to date, a strong focus was given to sharing experiences on co-creation activities carried out within each project, which helped refine their scope, objectives and technical solutions. The format of the sessions consisted of initial presentations of each project on objectives, goals and insights from user engagement, co-creation and pilot activities. Finally, a round table about the topics listed below was organized, using collaborative tools to gather contributions from participants, especially the end-users/ energy communities engaged at each site. The list of topics that were discussed during the workshop were based on the following ones:

TOPIC I – Pilot Site Landing: Pilot Site profiling/characterization, User Recruitment, communication & interaction with citizens, methodologies used, challenges, benefits, etc.

TOPIC II – Co-creation activities: Overview of solutions, use cases and scenarios implemented by each project. Highlights of co-creation activities carried out to date and how they helped shape/improve/enhance the scope of the projects, their objectives and technical and social outputs.

Participating projects: ACCEPT, HESTIA, ReDREAM, iFLEX, and SENDER.

Session Chair: Ismini Dimitriadou, Hypertech SA

Video recording

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