The new actors in the smart grids

Several actors are important for how the electric grids have been designed up to today and how they will be designed in the future. The electric grids are in constant transformation and the future is likely to continue to lead to new forms of cooperation and also an exchange of knowledge between a number of different actors.

Such an exchange of knowledge is needed to build experiences and bring about learning about new solutions, their potential and risks. New forms of collaboration are required to address lock-in effects in previous technical and organizational systems. Central actors for such a process are public organizations (municipalities, regions, state and the EU), commercial actors (electricity producers, service developers, service providers, property owners and consultants) and civil society (for example the environmental movement and energy cooperatives).

When looking at the design of the future electric grids, it is also important to expose several perspectives linked to public and private actors at different levels of society and geographical distribution. Perspectives, coherent or in conflict with each other, are needed in this work. It can, for example, be perspectives that relate to participation and planning in collaboration. It can also be the design of regulations, political controversies or commercial conditions for innovative solutions and new players to establish themselves in the market.

Issues within the research area

Against this background, the research program addresses how both established and new actors act and interact in the design of smart grids. What obstacles and support structures are there for different actors to participate in the design? Which players are able to establish themselves and which have a difficult time accessing the arenas where smart grids are discussed? How and by whom are questions raised on the agenda of smart grids and which questions are difficult to access? How do the entry of new actors into the smart grids change incentive structures and rules of the game? These are examples of issues that this area highlights.