[12/09/23 – online] Empowering Consumer Energy Sharing & Saving: Local demand reduction by elevating behavioural change for a just energy transition

Online, September 12, 11.30am CET to 13.00

The current European energy crisis requires innovative approaches to secure both domestic renewable energy and reduce the existing energy demand. From 2022’s winter preparedness, we know that reducing demand is possible, but how will the EU fare in winter 2023? 

Looking beyond 2023, how can energy saving measures structurally reduce energy consumption in the long-term to deliver a more affordable, secure and decarbonised electricity supply? 

Our research projects show approaches for how behavioural changes should be sustained over time and we will discuss with consumer and energy savings experts about how behavioural change and policy mechanisms can be integrated into well-planned long-term strategies.

Due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, energy generation issues, post-COVID effects, and extreme weather, Europe has seen a change in how we produce, import and consume energy. Because of the energy crisis, EU countries have collectively reduced natural gas consumption by 19% between August 2022 and January 2023, as a result of the voluntary consumption reduction target. The EU is extending this voluntary approach to reduce consumption until 2024, while the mandatory electricity reduction target of 5% at peak consumption times that the European Commission enacted is also set to be a permanent feature of the electricity market design.

While recent policy decisions have largely focused on securing energy supply and saving energy where possible, there is still a lack of a long-term, integrated strategy to actively involve consumers in energy demand reduction. 

The European Scientific Advisory Board on Climate Change’s recommended measures to tackle the energy crisis and climate crisis simultaneously highlighted the importance of efficiency improvements and behavioural change in reducing energy demand, boosting electrification, expanding renewable energy, and providing targeted support to vulnerable consumers.

Consumer behavioural change will be integral for short-term demand reductions, at scale. However, behavioural change is not yet uniform throughout Europe, these actions are often unpopular, as the expectation to change consumer behaviour is often perceived as unequal. We need to strategize further solutions to empower citizens to lead a socially just energy transition. 

H2020 projects WHY, NewTRENDs, SmartLivingEPC, NUDGE and EVIDENT are collaborating to show how their research is integrating both technical, energy efficiency improvements and behavioural change to reduce consumption effectively and justly to meet the EU climate goals.

This discussion will invite transmission system operators, consumer and energy-saving experts to highlight the ongoing challenges as well as innovative practices that are empowering consumers, alleviating challenges in the near-term while enabling long-term decarbonisation strategies.

Programme Highlights

  • We will discuss consumer-driven solutions to reduce energy demand.
  • For near-term solutions, we will explore winter preparedness for 2023, how to sustain behavioural changes over time, and what effect behavioural changes have on vulnerable consumers.
  • We will explore long-term effects on electrification efforts from the system planning perspective, and shed light on the use of peak shaving when electricity demand is highest.
  • We will introduce how the WHY Toolkit and our Sister Projects’ research can help energy planners enable these solutions. We also highlight this can help municipalities and consumers who prepare for short and long-term demand reduction.
  • We will discuss current consumer energy sharing and saving opportunities with expert speakers and explore potential future policy solutions, such as consumers’ right to share electricity produced with peers, the potential demand-flexibility measures and financial incentives.