Identification of opinion leaders, enabler technologies and technology adoption paths of smart energy technologies
With the Green Deal, Europe aims to become the first climate-neutral continent by 2050, with the energy transition playing a major role. In order to establish a decentralised, secure energy system based on renewable energy sources, the Green Deal relies on the development of a fully integrated, networked and digitalised EU energy market. At the household level, intelligent technologies, so-called smart home applications, will be used. In addition to smart entertainment, security or comfort applications, smart energy technologies (SET) (e.g. smart meters, energy management systems (EMS), etc.) are specifically designed to enable energy efficiency, promote sector coupling (e.g. e-mobility), communicate with the energy system or enable the integration of renewable energies. SETs can contribute to optimising, stabilising and increasing the resilience of the energy system by enabling components, grids and actors to interact intelligently with each other. What contribution digitalisation will ultimately make to the green transformation is still open in many respects. METSET focuses on two questions.
Research question 1
The prevailing opinion on SET determines the acceptance and willingness to use at the level of individual households (micro level) and consequently the diffusion of the technologies at a macro level. In order to make a statement about the contribution of digitalisation – i.e. specifically SET – to green transformation, it is relevant to have an understanding about the opinion set on SET (i.e. attitudes, values, needs, etc.) among (potential) users.
What types of SET beliefs (personas) can be found?
Research question 2
With their decisions to buy and use SET, households act as active players (including prosumers) in the energy transition. It remains questionable what significance the adoption of SET has in relation to other energy technologies and other smart technologies. Does the acquisition of one technology influence the acquisition of another? Are there patterns in the temporal acquisition of technologies by households and if so, what does such a technology adoption path (TAP) look like?
What is the importance of SETs in the technology adoption pathway of households?
A typification of SET users and insights into possible patterns in the purchase of smart (energy) technologies supports a needs-oriented development and design of SET in the context of service engineering. SET personas can provide a clear picture of target groups, taking into account emotional and practical goals that are stable over time and provide a precise reference point in the different phases of design.
Methodology & Procedures
In order to achieve the research objective, the METSET project proceeds as follows:
Exploratory qualitative research design:
– Q-method to develop the measurement tool used to collect opinions.
– Focus group and individual interviews within the framework of the Q-method and to generate a deeper understanding of the timing and reasons for the acquisition of smart (energy) technologies
Quantitative research design: Representative survey to
– collect opinions and
– exploration of TAP, as a pattern of technology acquisition.
Argumentative-deductive analysis to derive design measures for SET in the context of service engineering.
1) Insights into the chronological acquisition sequence of technologies (possibly patterns of technology adoption paths).
2) Survey instrument to identify SET personas, or typical opinions on the subject of SET
3) Recommendation of measures for the design of SET as energy services.