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29 November 2016

New report finds consumer flexibility remains low in Europe

The Smart Energy Demand Coalition (SEDC) issued a whitepaper to help Europe’s energy sector monetise demand-side flexibility.

The paper Empowering residential and SME consumers highlights the level of adoption of consumer flexibility within the EU energy landscape.

The paper discusses the benefits which an increase in consumer flexibility would bring to the region’s energy market.

SEDC provides a review of challenges restraining the growth of flexibility as well as solutions to improve the mechanism.

According to the SEDC, the transition of Europe’s energy market has placed a large importance of flexibility to ensure utilities improve their offerings to their consumers.

Although the region’s energy sector has transformed towards becoming more digital and smart, consumer participation still remains low.

The SEDC believes that an increase in consumer empowerment would allow utility firms to ensure grid reliability, improve customer services and develop new innovative business models.

The organisation states that increased consumer flexibility would help utilities integrate more distributed generation resources, enable an increase in adoption of EVs, meet carbon emission reduction targets as well as energy efficiency and demand response goals.

According to the findings of the SEDC, the greatest challenge utilities are facing is making flexibility available to their customers.

The paper suggests that the EU allow consumer flexibility through smart appliances. By introducing more smart appliances which would allow consumers to be more energy efficient as well as make their own choices with regard to energy suppliers or demand response aggregators, the region could boost its consumer flexibility potential.

In addition to increasing adoption of smart appliances, the SEDC recommends:

  • The introduction of a Smart Building Certificate to complement the European Energy Efficiency Certificate for buildings which offer a recognisable demand flexibility.
  • The inclusion of a smartness indicator on smart appliances certified to meet with the European Energy Efficiency standard- The indication must show the ability of the appliance to respond to external signals to adjust electricity consumption.
  • The introduction of incentives linked with the Smart Building Certificate.
  • Increased consumer access to their energy usage data

The second challenge the EU energy sector is facing is how to enable the market for flexibility to be monetised. [Regulatory order affords Kentucky utilities flexibility in smart grid deployments].

The SEDC states that the sector needs to increase its smart meter programmes, give consumers access to market related dynamic pricing, unhampered access to demand-response aggregators and products, and the right to self-generate electricity using renewable energy resources.

 

Image credit: www.consumersenergy.com.

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