The transition to a low-carbon energy system goes along with changing roles for citizens in energy production and consumption. In this paper we focus on how residential energy storage technologies can enable householders to contribute to the energy transition. Drawing on literature that understands energy systems as sociotechnical configurations and the theory of ‘material participation’, we examine how the introduction of home batteries affords new roles and energy practices for householders. We present qualitative findings from interviews with householders and other key stakeholders engaged in using or implementing battery storage at household and community level. Our results point to five emerging storage modes in which householders can play a role: individual energy autonomy; local energy community; smart grid integration; virtual energy community; and electricity market integration. We argue that for householders, these storage modes facilitate new energy practices such as providing grid services, trading, self-consumption, and sharing of energy. Several of the storage modes enable the formation of prosumer collectives and change relationships with other actors in the energy system. We conclude by discussing how householders also face new dependencies on information technologies and intermediary actors to organize the multi-directional energy flows which battery systems unleash. With energy storage projects currently being provider-driven, we argue that more space should be given to experimentation with (mixed modes of) energy storage that both empower householders and communities in the pursuit of their own sustainability aspirations and serve the needs of emerging renewable energy-based energy systems.
- battery storage technologies
- energy practices
- public participation
- socio-technical transitions
Kloppenburg, S., Smale, R., & Verkade, N. (2019). Technologies of Engagement: How Battery Storage Technologies Shape Householder Participation in Energy Transitions. Energies, 12(22), . https://doi.org/10.3390/en12224384