[UsersTCP17] Making a social license to automate demand side flexibility

Establishing the ‘who’, ‘why’, ‘when’ and ‘how’ of the management of the distributed energy resources (such as rooftop solar, home batteries and smart home energy management systems) proliferating across many countries is becoming increasingly crucial to energy policy. As various approaches to automating demand side flexibility are trialled, the idea of a ‘social license’ is gaining traction as a way of answering these questions. This webinar presents social scientific analysis from participating countries about what is required to build and maintain a ‘social license to automate’.


  • Sophie Adams, UNSW
  • Declan Kuch, Western Sydney University




Questions received during the webinar on April 14, 2021

  1. How important is an understanding of how the electricity market works for determining people’s eagerness to participate in a Virtual Power Plant (VPP)? It seems to me that the times that the grid operator will want to discharge a battery will match up with the battery owners (e.g. during peak price events).
  2. Thank you for this wonderful presentation and research. Consumption researchers argue that practices (eg. as well the so-called energy-relevant practices) are constantly evolving. I assume, that the focus groups and semi-structured interviews only provide a snapshot of the practices dynamics at a given point in time. Do you consider collecting more time-use data to understand the way practices evolve? Also how can demand side flexibility be measured with social practices?
  3. Excellent presentation! Have you found any issues of potential engaged VPP or smart charging participants being excluded because of circumstances, like not owning their homes, unable to pay for the kit, etc? We found in a study that many households could be excluded from novel energy propositions like these because of their circumstances (or indeed because they are very disengaged).
  4. Thanks for a great presentation! You mentioned sceptical users who don't see a need and don't have an interest in the technology (particularly shared garage EV charging). Do you have any findings for how to engage these people now while the technologies are still young?
  5. I might add in response to an earlier question that some of the interviewees were more enthusiastic about a VPP if they could reserve some of the battery use for themselves - e.g., only 50% of the battery capacity was available to the VPP
  6. Is an Aggregator involved, who pays the electricity customer for taking control of their battery? How are those rates determined?
  7. If a major public education effort is needed on how the grid works and how everyone benefits from collaborative operation, who is the best entity (because they are the most trusted) to undertake this awareness raising, through public service announcements etc?
  8. How to effectively address privacy concerns and avoid concerns of increasing control of people’s lives while entering the domestic environment?