Is the resource man coming home? : engaging with an energy monitoring platform to foster flexible energy consumption in the Netherlands

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Abstract

In this article we empirically study the notion of ‘The Resource Man’ put forward by Strengers (2014): a motivated and knowledgeable micro-resource manager, who uses domestic smart grid innovations to manage energy demand in a sustainable, affordable and grid-friendly way. To explore this notion, we analyse a case study where energy cooperative members engaged with an ICT-based monitoring platform focussing on three domestic energy-managing activities – energy monitoring, planning and sharing. We find that although this case provided the best prerequisites for the Resource Man to emerge, none of these activities was sustained during the project. This outcome underlines that the Resource Man perspective held by many actors in the energy industry has a narrow understanding of energy consumption and how it can be changed or made more flexible. We suggest that it is easier to understand householders’ engagement with energy through the concept of energy practice or “e-practices”. E-practices go beyond managing energy with smart devices, and can include being actively involved in an energy collective, generating, trading, storing or discussing energy. We argue that in general, domestic smart grid technology can play a potential but limited role in effecting changes to complex and interlinked daily practices.
LanguageEnglish
Pages36-44
Number of pages9
JournalEnergy Research and Social Science
Volume27
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2017

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energy consumption
Netherlands
Energy utilization
monitoring
energy
Monitoring
resources
Managers
Innovation
Planning
Industry
energy industry
energy shortage
manager
innovation
planning

Keywords

  • Smart grids
  • flexibility
  • Resource Man
  • Energy Practices

Cite this

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title = "Is the resource man coming home? : engaging with an energy monitoring platform to foster flexible energy consumption in the Netherlands",
abstract = "In this article we empirically study the notion of ‘The Resource Man’ put forward by Strengers (2014): a motivated and knowledgeable micro-resource manager, who uses domestic smart grid innovations to manage energy demand in a sustainable, affordable and grid-friendly way. To explore this notion, we analyse a case study where energy cooperative members engaged with an ICT-based monitoring platform focussing on three domestic energy-managing activities – energy monitoring, planning and sharing. We find that although this case provided the best prerequisites for the Resource Man to emerge, none of these activities was sustained during the project. This outcome underlines that the Resource Man perspective held by many actors in the energy industry has a narrow understanding of energy consumption and how it can be changed or made more flexible. We suggest that it is easier to understand householders’ engagement with energy through the concept of energy practice or “e-practices”. E-practices go beyond managing energy with smart devices, and can include being actively involved in an energy collective, generating, trading, storing or discussing energy. We argue that in general, domestic smart grid technology can play a potential but limited role in effecting changes to complex and interlinked daily practices.",
keywords = "Smart grids, flexibility, Resource Man, Energy Practices",
author = "N. Verkade and J.I. H{\"o}ffken",
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N2 - In this article we empirically study the notion of ‘The Resource Man’ put forward by Strengers (2014): a motivated and knowledgeable micro-resource manager, who uses domestic smart grid innovations to manage energy demand in a sustainable, affordable and grid-friendly way. To explore this notion, we analyse a case study where energy cooperative members engaged with an ICT-based monitoring platform focussing on three domestic energy-managing activities – energy monitoring, planning and sharing. We find that although this case provided the best prerequisites for the Resource Man to emerge, none of these activities was sustained during the project. This outcome underlines that the Resource Man perspective held by many actors in the energy industry has a narrow understanding of energy consumption and how it can be changed or made more flexible. We suggest that it is easier to understand householders’ engagement with energy through the concept of energy practice or “e-practices”. E-practices go beyond managing energy with smart devices, and can include being actively involved in an energy collective, generating, trading, storing or discussing energy. We argue that in general, domestic smart grid technology can play a potential but limited role in effecting changes to complex and interlinked daily practices.

AB - In this article we empirically study the notion of ‘The Resource Man’ put forward by Strengers (2014): a motivated and knowledgeable micro-resource manager, who uses domestic smart grid innovations to manage energy demand in a sustainable, affordable and grid-friendly way. To explore this notion, we analyse a case study where energy cooperative members engaged with an ICT-based monitoring platform focussing on three domestic energy-managing activities – energy monitoring, planning and sharing. We find that although this case provided the best prerequisites for the Resource Man to emerge, none of these activities was sustained during the project. This outcome underlines that the Resource Man perspective held by many actors in the energy industry has a narrow understanding of energy consumption and how it can be changed or made more flexible. We suggest that it is easier to understand householders’ engagement with energy through the concept of energy practice or “e-practices”. E-practices go beyond managing energy with smart devices, and can include being actively involved in an energy collective, generating, trading, storing or discussing energy. We argue that in general, domestic smart grid technology can play a potential but limited role in effecting changes to complex and interlinked daily practices.

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