Modelling demand and supply dynamics in socio-technical energy systems to investigate the active role(s) of residential consumers in the Smart Grid paradigm and assess how residential demand side flexibility can support the energy transition.

Project team: 

Claudia R. Binder, Matteo Barsanti – EPFL
Sebastian Lehnhoff, Jan Sören Schwarz – University of Oldenburg
Johannes Weyer, Fabian Adelt, Sebastian Hoffmann – Technical University Dortmund
Johanna Myrzik, Tom Warendorf – University of Bremen
Christian Rehtanz, Debopama Sen Sarma – Technical University Dortmund (ie3)
Bert Droste-Franke, Ben Vermeulen – Institut für qualifizierte Innovationsforschung und -beratung (IQIB)

Funding: Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and German
Research Foundation (DFG)

Duration: 2019-2023

Meeting the new ambitious target of a fully decarbonized European economy by 2050 requires a deep transformation of the power sector. In this regard, a change in paradigm is envisaged as a key strategy to “achieve decarbonisation at the lowest possible cost”: from supply following demand whenever it occurs to demand following generation when it is available. Demand Side Management (DSM) programs enclose all practices that allow demand to take part in actively managing the grid. In this perspective, as repeatedly stated in the European Green Deal, the active involvement of the residential sector is crucial. Although relatively easy from a conceptual standpoint, the effective implementation of DSM programs faces a general aversion of consumers, whose acceptance and engagement remain fundamental, in both manual and automated mechanisms.

This research is part of a joint research project, named Modelling the socio-technical Multi-level architecture of the Energy system and its Transformation (MoMeEnT). The aim is to investigate the active role(s) of residential consumers in the Smart Grid paradigm, in order to assess how residential demand flexibility can support the energy transition, looking at multi-criteria performance indicators.

Key factors and dynamics are investigated for characterising the diversified and interlinked energy consumer decision makings:

  • Participation as long-term choice to enroll in a smart energy contract.
  • Response as short-term response to multi-modal DSM stimuli.
  • Persistence as interaction and change of participation and response over time.

The multiplicity of individual actors, their multi-criteria objectives and the multidimensionality of the relevant factors make an Agent Based Modeling (ABM) approach the best suited for this application. The interaction between individual agents is examined taking into account individual and social dynamics. In this regard, the Consumat approach, due to its deliberative, social, normative and learning characteristics, gives the conceptual structure to the Participation model, while a Random Utility Model (RUM) operationalises the consumer response model, making it possible to consider the marginal utility resulting from multimodal DSM stimuli and to integrate personal, contextual and situational factors.

The integration and validation of the two models allows to run large-scale long-term Smart Grid (SG) simulations. Scenario and sensitivity analysis are used to investigate the emergence of certain situations and event/path sequences. Moreover, lifestyle specific interventions, innovative DSM business models and appropriate governance interventions are developed and their effects simulated and assessed.

Matteo Barsanti

I am contributing to this research with my doctoral project "Modeling Demand and Supply Dynamics in Socio-Technical Energy Systems" under the supervision of Prof. Claudia Binder and Dr. Selin Yilmaz.

Matteo Barsanti, PhD student