AMS Addressing ethical concerns

in smart energy system design

Smart energy systems are considered to be important enablers in the transition to a more sustainable energy system. However, ethical concerns, for example related to privacy, security, reliability, etc. are often connected to their implementation, which may eventually lead to the rejection of the system by key stakeholders. In this project, we will explore smart energy pilot projects in Amsterdam in light of such ethical concerns. The research will result in recommendations on how to design smart energy systems that are socially acceptable and adopted more readily by end users.

Problem Statement
Smart energy systems are considered to be important enablers in the transition to a more sustainable energy system, as they facilitate the growing deployment of, among others, renewable energies. However, there are ethical concerns connected to the their implementation, for example related to privacy, security, reliability, or affordability. Such concerns can lead to problems and delays during the implementation, thereby increasing risks for stakeholders that are willing to participate in such projects. Addressing them early in the design phase of systems can improve social acceptability, ultimately facilitating increased implementation.

Objectives
This project aims at developing smart energy designs that take such ethical concerns into account. To do so, we will firstly identify important social values at stake for smart grid systems. Secondly, possible value conflicts (e.g. privacy vs. reliability of the grid) will be made transparent. Lastly, we will identify innovative organizational and business models that address important values and reduce or resolve value conflicts. The results will allow us to give recommendations how to design smart grid systems that prevent value conflicts and are socially acceptable.

Application in Amsterdam
We will apply our research in the context of smart energy pilot projects in the City of Amsterdam. The city of Amsterdam is a frontrunner in smart energy system rollout in the Netherlands, as shown by policy choices such as the strong focus on the integration of renewable energy, or the energy integration of data centres and other innovation initiatives like TRANSFORM and City-Zen. The project will yield recommendations for industry and policy makers how to enhance the societal value and acceptability of smart energy systems in support of different social values.

Project duration: February 2016 – February 2020

Partners: Delft University of Technology, TFEco.bv, Aurum Europe bv, Stedin, DNV GL, USEF, NEN, Shell Future Energy Technologies, VSL, NWO, Alliander, Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS) at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

Project leader:
Prof. dr. Rolf Künneke, Delft University of Technology
Phone: +31 (0)15 2787 752
E-Mail: R.W.Kunneke@tudelft.nl

Related Information:
www.tbm.tudelft.nl/SMART

Contact:
Tristan de Wildt, PhD Candidate, Delft University of Technology
Phone: +31 (0)15 2785 749
E-Mail: T.E.deWildt@tudelft.nl

Christine Milchram, PhD Candidate, Delft University of Technology
Phone: +31 (0)15 2785 297
E-Mail: c.milchram@tudelft.nl