Smart grids have been positioned as an essential development in accommodating a greater number of renewable energy and demand side assets on an electricity system in order to maintain dynamic stability. However, there is no common definition of what that means for the potential to exploit smart grids beyond a techno-economic solution. The following publications explore diverse stakeholder perspectives on smart grids. 

Socially smart grids? A multi-criteria mapping of diverse stakeholder perspectives on smart energy futures in the United Kingdom 

 

Energy Research and Social Science, 2022

N. Hargreaves, T. Hargreaves, J. Chilvers

Abstract 

Smart grids have been heralded as means to build more efficient, connected and sustainable energy systems yet they bring forward many possible futures and potential downsides. Whilst most existing analyses have been technical in focus, emerging social studies of smart grids have separately considered their imagined socio- technical futures, generalised public perceptions, or micro-scale responses in domestic and community settings. In this paper we aim to address the ‘social smartness’ of smart grid research by connecting these hitherto distinct strands of work through a distributed appraisal of potential future pathways for smart grid development in the United Kingdom...

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What's the meaning of 'smart'? A study of smart grids

EPSRC, 2015

N. Hargreaves, T. Hargreaves, J. Chilvers

Abstract 

The research published in this report was undertaken over the course of a one-year exploration into the meaning of 'smart' in the context of, but not necessarily limited to, the GB electricity system. A key aim was to expose and articulate for the first time, criteria, concerns and considerations from a diverse array of electricity system stakeholders to reveal where comparable and contrasting understandings of smart grids lay...

A significant finding from this research reflected upon the inadequacy of the so called energy trilemma to express the problem which smart grid development sought to address. By limiting the scope of the intended solution primarily to techno-economic concerns, important understandings of smart grid influence upon social inclusion, equity and governance was overlooked that has ramifications exposed by today's energy crisis.  It raised the question how smart grids could also therefore be designed as socially smart.

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