By Rajat Gupta, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford
EnergyREV, under its research theme of Users, is investigating what kind of smart energy tools work, for whom, how, where and in what conditions.
Over the past few months the research team has held a series of workshops with two of the PFER demonstrators - Local Energy Oxfordshire (LEO) and Energy Superhub Oxford (ESO) - to establish which user groups the projects were planning to engage with, through what actions, and what methods will be used to identify the outcome of the engagement.
Demonstrator project stakeholders drawn from public, private and academic sector organisations took an active part in the workshops. Reports produced by the research team have been shared with LEO and ESO project teams. The results have used to adapt their communication strategies with user groups that they are involved with.
An extensive review of existing literature has also been carried out to identify what smart energy tools have been used in local energy initiatives so far. Findings show that there has been limited use of smart energy tools for enhancing user engagement in local energy initiatives and that generally a one-way flow of information takes place from projects to users.
Findings from the literature review and stakeholder workshops will be used to develop a series of smart energy tools that will be tested in PFER demonstrators.