Optimizing End Users participation in Electric Smart Grid Systems
There is an increasingly pressing need in South Australia to accelerate the development of low-carbon energy technologies as a way of addressing global challenge of ensuring efficient energy security, economic growth, and climate change. Smart grid has been considered as innovative way through which several low carbon technologies have been developed. These include electric vehicles (Lee et al 2012, p. 11). The end users who are the main consumers of electricity play an essential role in the determination of the best mechanisms that can be used in the introduction and use of cleaner energy supply that is not only efficient but also more affordable and sustainable (International Energy Agency 2011, p. 5). The main objective of this paper is to conduct an assessment on the best methodologies that can be used to ensure the optimization of end users of electric smart grid systems.
Electric smart grid systems and the optimization of end user participation
The main objective of electric smart grid systems is to ensure effective coordination of the needs and capabilities of all the generators, end-users, grid operators and electric market stakeholders. This is often geared towards ensuring that all parts of the systems are operational in the most effective manner (International Energy Agency 2011, p. 6). Furthermore, the effective operations of these systems also aim at the minimization of costs and possible effects while maximizing on the reliability of the system, its resilience, and level stability (International Energy Agency 2011, p. 5). Electric smart grid systems include electric networks and interfaces with end-users, storage and generation. Regions such as South Australia, despite its laxity in matters related to the infrastructure have begun the process of providing additional investments and planning in ways that will ensure that it realizes the operationalization of a smarter grid. The optimization of end users in the case of South Australia will require the deployment of different rates in the areas that define South Australia (International Energy Agency 2011, p. 5).
The creation of awareness on matters related to electric smart grid systems can also be one way through which end users can be operating within these systems through informed participation. This is based on the realization that consumers help in providing some form of balance in terms of supply and demand (International Energy Agency 2011, p. 7). The behavior of consumers will define technological development within South Australia. In addition, it will also be the basis of providing the end consumers with additional information concerning their use of electricity. The modification of the ways that consumers use electricity will also be essential platforms of providing the end users with information concerning new forms of electricity pricing and incentives. the main objective of optimizing the role of consumers in such a market will be to ensure that whenever they purchase of consume electricity, they do so while understanding different requirements and cost implications that accompany the use of electricity (International Energy Agency 2011, p. 8).
Optimum participation of the end user on matters of electrify will also provide the end users of smart grid system with information on the limits of the systems in terms of energy use and supply. This will help in the development of an understanding that electric smart grid systems accommodate all generation and storage alternatives (International Energy Agency 2011, p. 7). Through the accommodation of different sources of energy the end user will begin developing an understanding of the reason why the integration of different energy resources increases rapidly along a defined value chain. This is from suppliers, to marketers and to the customers (Rosemary 2010, p. 1).
One way by which suppliers can ensure that consumers are transformed from passive to active consumers is through the incorporation of consumers into the grid systems for them to understand how consumers can successfully assume responsibilities as active participants in the electric power system. This is through the development of closer relationships between energy providers and consumers during the process of developing a new service. This means that for such active participation to be realized, it would be important integrate the social contexts and the daily routines in which they operate should be focused on grid practicalities based on technological issues and economic motivations (Mengoline & Vasiljevska 2013, p. 6).
The prevailing communication on smart grids recognize the importance of consumer awareness and how it underlines the development of smart grids in a competitive retail market ought to encourage consumers to adopt new behavior and operate in accordance with the patterns of new smart energy consumption. Despite this realization there are uncertainties resulting from the uncertainties of the new technologies. The only that a smart grid systems can acquire their intended smartness is through the sensitization of the people within it. Consumer action is therefore an essential driver. An observation of consumer in the early stages of implementing smart grid system will determine whether the consumers understand and are willing to embrace the technology (Mengoline & Vasiljevska 2013, p. 7).
According to the existing psychological studies on energy use, the most effective information strategies that could facilitate a process of engaging consumers in energy conservation initiatives are those that centralized on individualized social marketing approaches that provide information tailored to meet the needs and the desires of specific segments of the consumers (Mengoline & Vasiljevska 2013, p. 7). The engagement of consumers in sustainable technology is often influenced by social norms, personal norms, behavioral control and consumer attitudes. To enhance the attitude of consumers for instance it will be important for smart grid practitioners to embrace relational factors attributes such as trust, confidence and some level of distributive fairness. Consumer engagement project will necessitate an increase in the interest of consumers in matters related to the supply and effective consumption of energy (Mengoline & Vasiljevska 2013, p. 7).
Quality of electricity supplied by the smart grid system is another variable that defines the relationship between the end users and the market. This is based on the understanding that not all end users need the same quality of power. Through the implementation of a smart grid, it will be possible for the suppliers to provide the end users with different grades and prices of power (International Energy Agency 2011, p. 7). The cost of premium power quality features can be part of an electrical service contract. In addition, the provision of advanced control methodologies can be used in monitoring essential components that enable rapid diagnosis and solutions to different events that affect power quality (Rosemary 2010, p. 1). These include factors such as lightening, line fault, switching surges and harmonic sources. An elaborate understanding of these factors affects the quality of power that is supplied to the end-users. This is because commercials enterprises and residential consumer varied qualities of electric energy hence the need to institute measures that define the quality of power and the prices that different suppliers (International Energy Agency 2015, p. 7)
An effective understanding of different values that influence the choice of consumers is crucial in segmenting consumers according to their needs. The provision of sufficient energy art affordable prices forms the basis of smart grid systems. This means that through different pricing approaches facilitated by utility, smart grid transforms end users to effective consumers through demand response. This facilitates the process of making the end user an important player in optimization and energy management. These values can be used by energy practitioners in triggering behavioral change and providing motivational incentives in ways that promote the engagement of consumers and the use of smart grid system (Mengoline & Vasiljevska 2013, p. 11). The motivational factors include environmental concerns, control of electricity bills and better comfort in using electricity.
Critical observation on consumer response to novel mechanism and technological solutions are essential in the exploration of their feasibility and the possible impact that they may have on the smart grid system. Consumers for instance can be engaged in flexible-demand response to real-time price signals (Mengoline & Vasiljevska 2013, p. 12). To reach this objective it will be necessary for energy suppliers and the government to engage consumers in training and networking platforms that facilitate some form of interaction between consumers and the suppliers. The participants in this process must be equipped with appliances that enable the operationalization of residential demand devices. The installation of the devices will allow for the presentation real-time prices to consumers and allowing the participants to pre-program their spontaneous demand response partialities. This can be through the varieties of electric contracts. This will also be facilitated by the process of automation and customer choice as major elements of real-time price signals. For this process to realize its potential; it will be important to introduce two recruitment engagement strategies (Mengoline & Vasiljevska 2013, p. 14). A fixed incentive for involvement that includes a 25% reduction in the bill during the field test will be considered as the first variable. The second variable incentives would be based on the participation of consumers during the field test. This is due to the desire by suppliers to seek an alternative way of engaging the end-user. The result would be based on that which had a greater success in involving the end users as active participants in the active demand program (Mengoline & Vasiljevska 2013, p. 14).
The process of optimizing assets utilization and operating efficiency within South Australia can also an essential technique that can be used by different electric suppliers, practitioners and providers in improving on the participation of end users in terms of embracing the electric smart grid technology (International Energy Agency 2015, p. 8). Smart grid systems apply the latest technology in the optimization of the use of its assets. For effective end-user participation, it will be important for the suppliers and practitioners of electricity as a product in South Australia to optimize the capacity that is attainable through dynamic ratings. This allows for the determination of the assets that can be used in at high voltage or generator loads (International Energy Agency 2015, p. 8). This can be realized through continuous sensation and rating of the capabilities of different assets. Furthermore through the incorporation of maintenance efficiency can be optimized through the development of condition based maintenance. The understanding of these systems will signal to the end users the need for the maintenance of equipment at the right time (South Australia Power Networks 2014, p.15). The end user will be able to understand how to communicate to the suppliers and the electricity provides on the best communication platforms. An effective communication platform between these parties will facilitate the development of a process where different players within the electric smart grid systems can share ideas and concerns on the system. In addition, it will also be possible to engage system control devices that are adjustable as a way of ensuring a reduction of and possible elimination of congestion (International Energy Agency 2015, p. 8).
The development of an online communication platform that is integrated with mobile phone technology increase the efficiency of operating the electric smart grid system. This is especially in its ability to help end users in selecting the least cost energy delivery system that is availed by the existing systems of control devices (Shafiullah et al 2013, p. 25). The improvements of end user understanding of basic electric smart grid system will also help in the ability of the users to voice their recommendations on possible areas of improvements that can be introduced to improve on its efficiency and effectiveness (Pitney 2010, p. 6). This also helps in ensuring that the systems are resilient to different disturbances, natural disaster and attacks. Resilience in this context refers to the ability of the electric smart grid system to react to and isolate different problematic elements wile restoring the rest of the system to normal operations (CSIRO 2012, p. 6). The only way that suppliers and providers can ensure that their system are resilient to any form of attack will be through providing the end-users with information that is sufficient for their understanding of the system (Hulsebosch 2009, p. 14). Furthermore, through resilience, it will also be easier for the suppliers and the providers to ensure that in the process of dealing with unexpected happening will still provide a technique of restoring the rest of the systems to normal operations (Rosemary 2010, p. 1). Through the incorporation of self-healing actions within the system, there will be a reduction in the interruption of services to consumers and assist service providers with better techniques of managing the delivery infrastructure (International Energy Agency 2015, p. 9).
There are variations in terms of demand for electricity among different end users. The design of every electric system is often meant to meet the highest level of demand. This is an indication that during non-peak times the electric systems are often underutilized (International Energy Agency 2015, p. 9). For the government in South Australia to ensure that the demand curve among end-users is flatter, there is need for additional investment in capacity (Marwan & Kamel 2011, p. 4). Smart grid system is an essential infrastructure in the reduction of peak demands through the provision of information and incentives to end users. This will enables such users to shift consumption away from times of peak demands (Lazar & McKenzie 2012, 10).
Figure 1.0: End user optimization through efficient energy saving and cost effective mechanism
The response on demand in smart grid system is a mechanism by which end-users in at both the residential and industrial service level change consumption while responding to different market conditions such as price. The demand response can not only ensure a reduction in peak demands but also provide the end users with system flexibility hence enabling the disposition of variable generation technologies (Marwan & Kamel 2011, p. 5). The reduction of peak demands is most likely to be the first alternative. This is because demand at a systems level is relatively predictable and can ramp slowly compared to variable generation (Center for computing and Engineering Software Systems 2010, p. 1). With the development of demand response technology it becomes relatively easier to understand human interaction, availability of demands, and volume and response time of demands (NL Agency 2012, p.3). This will provide the necessary flexibility in response to both peak demand and capricious generation needs (Goulden, et al 2013, p. 27).
The introduction of customer side systems as part of the can facilitate the process of managing electricity consumption among end users. Through this approach it will be easier for the management to develop a wide area monitoring and control system (Lazar & McKenzie 2012, 9). Being a subset of the electric smart grid system, the technology operates on the phasor measurement unit, which plays the role of supervisory controller and can also be used in the acquisition of data. This approach to data acquisition and storage can help the end-users with the necessary statistics on their consumption. The smart grid systems can therefore be perceived as a system that enhances the integration of information and communications technology integration (Boork et al 2014, p. 4).
Optimization of consumer participation can also be facilitated through the development of efficient management practices of peak demands. This enables better systems planning in the entire electric smart grid system (Goulden, et al 2013, p. 27). Through an effective management approach it will be possible to increase the options for new loads, which include electric vehicles for the purposes of effective storage deployment for generation technologies. For the maximization of this approach to end-user participation, it would be important for the suppliers and practitioners in electric smart grid system to treat end-users as human beings greater than points of electricity demands (Boork et al 2014, p. 5).
For effective engagement of end-users it would be important to develop measureable criteria that will help in the protection of electrify consumers from the private company. For instance the definition of the concept of vulnerable can be used in making reference to energy poverty and the prohibition of electric disconnection to such users in critical times (Goulden, et al 2013, p. 37).
For social marketing to be considered a successful in optimization of end-users, it would be important to embrace community based social marketing approaches. When merged with the insight into the essence of social norms and the role of community engagement in altering the behavior of end-users. Social marketing approaches can have a lasting impact on routine behaviors among consumers and offer effective paths towards pro-social behavior (Goulden, et al 2013, p. 37).
Electric smart grid systems such as electric networks and interfaces with end-users, storage and generation have been instrumental in enhancing effective use of electric energy. Regions such as South Australia, despite its laxity in matters related to the infrastructure have begun the process of providing additional investments and planning in ways that will ensure that it realizes the operationalization of a smarter grid. For an active participation to be realized it would be important integrate the social contexts and the daily routines in which they operate should be focused on grid practicalities based on technological issues and economic motivations. The engagement of consumers in sustainable technology is often influenced by social norms, personal norms, behavioral control and consumer attitudes. To enhance the attitude of consumers for instance it will be important for smart grid practitioners to embrace relational factors attributes such as trust, confidence and some level of distributive fairness. For active participation of end users to be realized it will be important to introduce recruitment engagement strategies whose result would be based on that which had a greater success in involving the end users as active participants in the active demand program.
Boork, M., Thomten, M., Brolin, M., Uyterlinde, M., Maggiore,
S., 2014. Key success factors and barriers to end user engagement in smart grid projects. Behavior and Energy Efficiency Conference
Center for computing and engineering Software Systems. 2010. Smart Energy Management
Decentralised Collective Demand–Response Management in Smart Grids. Swinburne University of Technology
CSIRO, 2012. Australia’s Future Grid: Evaluating whole-of-system options for Australia’s
future electricity system. Energy Transformed Flagship
Goulden, M., Bedwell, B., Egglestone, S., Rodden, T., & Spence, A., 2013.
Smart grids, smart users? The role of the user in demand side management. Energy Research & Social Science
Hulsebosch, T., 2009. ‘Smart Grid Development’. Consulting-Specifying Engineer, 45, 6, pp. 14-
16, Business Source Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 25 June 2015.
Mengoline, A., & Vasiljevska, J., 2013. The Social Dimension of Smart Grids: Consumer
community Society. JRC Scientific policy report
International Energy Agency, 2015. Smart Grids in Distribution networks: Roadmap
Developments and implementation. OECD/IEA
International Energy Agency, 2011. Technology Roadmap Smart Grids. OECD/IEA
Lazar, Jason & McKenzie, Mark., 2012. Australian Standards for Smart Grids– Standards
Roadmap. Standards Australia: Australia
Lee, Y., Paredes, J., & Lee, S., 2012. Smart Grid and its Application in Sustainable Cities.
Departments Energy Division. Inter-American Development Bank
Marwan, M., & Kamel, F., 2012. Demand Side Response to Mitigate Electrical Peak
Demand in Eastern and Southern Australia. In 2011 IEEE International Conference on Smart Grid and Clean Energy Technologies,
NL Agency. 2012. Smart Grids and energy Storage. Netherlands office for Science and
Pitney, B., 2010. Optimizing the Performance of Smart Grid Technologies. Business Insight:
Rosemary, L., 2013. “Smart Grids: Opportunities for Climate Change Mitigation and
Adaptation”. MonashULawRw 7; (2010) 36(1) Monash University Law Review 173
South Australia Power Networks, 2014. A Smarter Network Strategy 2014-2025: A workstream
of the Smart Grid strategy. SA Power Networks
Shafiullah, G., Amanullah M. T. Oo, A. B. M. Shawkat Ali, Peter Wolfs. 2012. Smart Grid for a
Sustainable Future. Higher Education Division, School of Engineering and Technology, Central Queensland University, Rockhampton, Australia