Social License
to Automate

Synopsis

The Social License to Automate Annex investigates the social dimensions of user engagement with automated technologies in energy systems to understand how end-user trust to automate is built and maintained in different jurisdictions and cultural settings.

Introduction

Who would you trust to control your air conditioner, battery or washing machine? This question is becoming increasingly important as grid operators and aggregation firms trial automation projects to participate in markets, stabilise electricity delivering during peak periods and build flexibility in power grids increasingly characterised by distributed sites of generation, storage and consumption. Automation technologies facilitate load shifting and shaving in peak demand periods through direct load control and pre-programming of appliances in the home. Their automated character ultimately requires trust in organisations.

Background

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As policy and market drivers of decarbonisation accelerate the uptake of distributed energy resources, the need for rapid electricity system responsiveness to the variability of wind and solar supply and variable demand increases. Leveraging the full capacity of this growing, but highly distributed resource requires real-time automated access to the energy sources situated within residential and small-scale commercial systems. Without automation, demand side management is unlikely to provide the electricity system with the fast-acting response needed to manage changing network and system requirements. 

Objectives

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The Annex seeks to understand the dynamics of trust and related social dimensions which determine user engagement with automation technologies in demand side management.

Methodology

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By building and sharing knowledge through case study analysis and expert collaboration across the participating countries, the Annex constitutes a platform for reflective, cutting-edge interdisciplinary research and stakeholder engagement on how trust is built and maintained between different energy users and suppliers.

Benefits

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The Annex will identify what is required to build and maintain the ‘social license’ – which includes user understanding, acceptance and trust – essential to the success of automation technologies for demand side management.

Subtasks

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  • Subtask 1: Common template for social and technical research approach
  • Subtask 2: Desktop and case study data collection and analyses 
  • Subtask 3: Understanding trust to automate: social, economic, institutional and technical dimensions
  • Subtask 4: Country profiles and policy relevant body of knowledge

Deliverables

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The deliverables include an international report of all cases analysed, individual country case study reports, briefing papers, conference presentations and journal articles. 

Participation

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Confirmed participating member countries include Austria, Australia, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland. 

Annex duration: 25 October 2019 – 25 October 2021

Contacts

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CountryRoleNameE-mail
AustraliaOperating AgentDr Declan Kuch
School of Humanities and Languages
University of New South Wales
Sydney, Australia
d.kuch@unsw.edu.au
AustraliaOperating AgentDr Sophie Adams
School of Humanities and Languages
University of New South Wales
Sydney, Australia
s.m.adams@unsw.edu.au

 

Events

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Users TCP Workshop at the Asia-Pacific Solar Research Conference

3:30pm – 5:30pm, 4 December 2019, Rex Hotel, Canberra, Australia

Citizens of which country claim to trust their energy providers most and why? What are the most successful business models for distributed energy provision? Dr Declan Kuch and A/Prof Iain MacGill address these questions and many more to introduce the newly relaunched User-Centred Energy Systems Technology Collaboration Program (Users TCP by IEA), outlining the Annexes Australia is involved with and leading. The mission of the Users TCP is to mission is to provide evidence from socio-technical research on the design, social acceptance and usability of clean energy technologies to inform policy making for clean, efficient and secure energy transitions. The workshop will be suitable for industry, government, civil society and consumer stakeholders working on market design and reform, automation, storage, consumer engagement and related issues.

Publications

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Social License Launch Event Summary

This document contains notes from the Social License to Automate Annex launch event held at UNSW in Sydney on 25 October 2019.

Social License Launch Event Slides

This document contains slides from the presentations at the Social License to Automate Annex launch event held at UNSW in Sydney on 25 October 2019.