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The Active Energy Citizen:
User Innovation, Prosumption and
New Energy Communities in
Renewable Micro-Generation
Jouni K. ...
Outline
• Background
• Research Question
• Dataset
• Original Research Papers
• Implications
Background
• Changing energy sector
– The end-user role is changing from passive consumer to active
co-provider with de-ce...
Socio-
Technical
Understanding
of Active
Energy
Engagement
Energy
Technology
Studies
Micro-
Generation
Aim of the research
Research Question
What kind forms of active energy usership emerge with
renewable micro-generation?
Socio-technical
Configurations
Domestication and
active consumption
of Technology
User Innovations
Internet
Communities
Ke...
Socio-technical
Configurations
Domestication and
active consumption of
Technology
User Innovations
Internet
Communities
Re...
Paper # Groups of interviewed people
No. semi
structured
interviews
Naturally occuring data
Paper A Review paper 0
Materia...
Dataset
Original Research Papers
• Juntunen, J.K. & Hyysalo, S. (under review in Renewable &
Sustainable Energy Reviews), ‘Renewab...
lead user
hapless
user
local
expert
competent
user
non user
Paper B:
Processes of Becoming
Competent User
Paper C:
Creativ...
Socio-Technical Framework for Analyzing Micro-Generation
Paper A
Renewable micro-Generation of heat and electricity –
Revi...
Paper A
• Significant variations in socio-technical configurations
depending on technology
• Differences in technological ...
Paper B
• Interlinked nature of renewable
energy diffusion
• Series of separate DET
investments are building
development t...
Paper C
• 105 inventions in heat
pumps
• 87 in wood pellet burning
systems
• System level design
• User modifications
• Us...
Paper D
• Majority of forum activities are
centered on scaling, purchasing,
maintenance, trouble shooting
and comparing of...
Implications
New Energy Communities with
Dispersed Structure
• In the community energy context, community is defined
as a local unit, w...
Interlinked Technologies and
Domestication Pathways
• The use of the domestication framework (Paper B)
revealed a hybridiz...
Open Pre-configuration
• The traditional way of thinking of product creation in a firm-based
R&D department has been that ...
Air-Source-Heat-Pumps
Air-to-Water-Heat-Pumps
Exhaust-Air-Heat-Pumps
Ground-Source-Heat-Pumps
units
Lead Users Helping to ...
Power of Inclusive Participation
with Various Groups
• Study of user-run online forums indicates that company-
run online ...
Towards Increased Energy
Autonomy
• Utilities and third-party businesses have started to
provide micro-generation as energ...
The End – The most
important message
• Government guarantee for micro-generation credit (a'la
study loan guarantee in Finl...
Thank you!
Original research papers can be downloaded
from:
https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Jouni_
K_Juntunen
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Inuse seminar 9.6.2014 - "The Active Energy Citizen:User Innovation, Prosumption and New Energy Communities in Renewable Micro-Generation"

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In the energy sector, the end-user role is changing from passive consumer to active co-provider with de-centralized technologies. This presentation elaborates what kind of forms of active energy usership emerge with renewable micro-generation. The author draws from and contributes primarily to research on energy consumption, social shaping of technology, and user innovation research. The key findings demonstrate how homeowners have an evolutionary approach in building and configuring residential energy systems which should be recognized in energy policy and design. Flexibility to adapt to changes is an important factor and it fosters sustainable development pathways and proliferation of renewable energy generation in households.

This presentation is based on doctoral thesis work which has been recently submitted for pre-examination in Aalto University School of Business Organization and Management discipline.

Published in: Science, Technology, Business
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Inuse seminar 9.6.2014 - "The Active Energy Citizen:User Innovation, Prosumption and New Energy Communities in Renewable Micro-Generation"

  1. 1. The Active Energy Citizen: User Innovation, Prosumption and New Energy Communities in Renewable Micro-Generation Jouni K. Juntunen
  2. 2. Outline • Background • Research Question • Dataset • Original Research Papers • Implications
  3. 3. Background • Changing energy sector – The end-user role is changing from passive consumer to active co-provider with de-centralized technologies – New forms of collaboration and active engagement with technology emerging • Technological change – Not just matter of R&D – Understanding how technology is taken into use, used, appropriated or abandoned can become critical in proliferation – Knowledge of the different roles of end-users in energy technology diffusion processes could help product and service development, energy policy and consequently enhance the adoption rate of low carbon energy technologies
  4. 4. Socio- Technical Understanding of Active Energy Engagement Energy Technology Studies Micro- Generation Aim of the research
  5. 5. Research Question What kind forms of active energy usership emerge with renewable micro-generation?
  6. 6. Socio-technical Configurations Domestication and active consumption of Technology User Innovations Internet Communities Key Insights Users of technologies create configurations to meet certain specific requirements. Walker and Cass (2007) have developed generic theoretical socio- technical framework that includes both technological and organizational aspects making visible the multitude of configurations around the renewable energy deployments. The domestication framework has been used to study adaptation processes where technology becomes part of everyday life. Mainly used for ICT technologies, but also for other technologies. Individuals or groups of ‘creative consumers’ and ‘craft consumers’ adapts, modifies, or transforms off-the- shelf products and use these as raw materials for creating a new product for own use. User Innovation is reported in various fields. The proportion of user innovations can vary from next to none to up to 80% found in surgical instruments. Inventions by users tend to be highly concentrated on few user inventors, typically representing less than 0.1% of total user population. Inventive users tend to get help from their peers, and this help is often vital for realizing their designs. Research on peer networks has been active, including open source development, crowdsourcing, and variations of the open design movement. In many domains innovating users are deeply embedded in communities of practice or have organized design- oriented networks
  7. 7. Socio-technical Configurations Domestication and active consumption of Technology User Innovations Internet Communities Research gaps in micro- generation context Analytical practical tools for analyzing socio-technical configurations require development. A review on socio- technical configurations specifically on micro- generation that makes visible richness and diversity of micro-generation technologies and deployment models is scarce. Processes taking place during the active use of micro-generation technologies are not exhaustively analyzed. The domestication and active consumption frameworks have not been applicable for infrastructural consumption and centralized energy generating technologies. Decentralization of generation opens up new research possibilities. A detailed examination of users’ inventions on micro- generation has not been done to reveal where in the technical system in question inventive user modifications are accomplished and where not. It is not well understood how capable the inventive users are at their technical modifications of renewable home- heating technologies. Research has focused on location bound energy communities. CMC enabled new communities, particularly large user- run online forums and their role and support for technology adoptation and user innovation have not been studied. Research Questions What forms of socio- technical configurations are found in renewable micro-generation? What kind of technology domestication and active consumption processes are involved with use of micro-generation technology? How innovative users of micro-generation are and in what ways? How user-run online forums support innovative activity?
  8. 8. Paper # Groups of interviewed people No. semi structured interviews Naturally occuring data Paper A Review paper 0 Material from renewable energy service and provider websites, clean tech news sites, reports. Paper B Air-heat-pump users (9), Solar thermal collector users (7) micro- wind users (5) 15 Three energy related user- run online forums. 443 discussion threads. Paper C Air-heat-pump inventive users (13), Air-heat-pump companies (2), Ground-source-heat-pump inventive users (9), Ground-source-heat-pump companies (1), Wood pellet inventive users (13), Wood pellet companies (2) 40 User-run online forum data. 1206 discussion threads. Paper D Air-heat-pump inventive users (13), Air-heat-pump companies (2), Ground- source-heat-pump inventive users (9), Ground-source-heat-pump companies (1) 25 User-run online forum data ,‘Own modifications and improvements’ and technical questions sections; altogether, 447 discussion threads. Dataset
  9. 9. Dataset
  10. 10. Original Research Papers • Juntunen, J.K. & Hyysalo, S. (under review in Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews), ‘Renewable micro-Generation of heat and electricity – Review on common and missing socio- technical configurations’. • Juntunen, J.K. (2014), ‘Domestication Pathways of Small-scale Renewable Energy Technologies’, Sustainability: Science, Practice, and Policy, vol. 10, no. 2, pp. 1-15. • Hyysalo, S., Juntunen, J.K. & Freeman, S. (2013), ‘User innovation in sustainable home energy technologies’, Energy Policy vol. 55, pp. 490-500. • Hyysalo, S., Juntunen, J.K. & Freeman, S. (2013), ‘Internet forums and the rise of the inventive energy user’, Science and Technology Studies vol. 26, no. 1, pp. 25-51
  11. 11. lead user hapless user local expert competent user non user Paper B: Processes of Becoming Competent User Paper C: Creative Prosumer / User Innovator Paper A: Technical and Organizational Components of Micro- generation Paper D: Role of CMCs to support Creative Prosumers EngagementLevelwithTechnology Knowledge craft consumer new user
  12. 12. Socio-Technical Framework for Analyzing Micro-Generation Paper A Renewable micro-Generation of heat and electricity – Review on common and missing socio-technical configurations
  13. 13. Paper A • Significant variations in socio-technical configurations depending on technology • Differences in technological characteristics have a direct impact on operation and management needs • Operation and management needs enable or hinder proliferation of company-driven models and servicezation of micro-generation • 3rd party ownership (servicezation) may also hinder the development of local energy autonomy Review on common and missing socio-technical configurations
  14. 14. Paper B • Interlinked nature of renewable energy diffusion • Series of separate DET investments are building development trajectory where one technology leads to the investment of the other • Can be conceptualized as domestication pathways Domestication Pathways of Small-scale Renewable Energy Technologies
  15. 15. Paper C • 105 inventions in heat pumps • 87 in wood pellet burning systems • System level design • User modifications • User hacks, add-ons, relocating repurposing User innovation in sustainable home energy technologies
  16. 16. Paper D • Majority of forum activities are centered on scaling, purchasing, maintenance, trouble shooting and comparing of different technology models • DIY projects and exchange between inventive users are a minority phenomenon within the forum • The forums play a major role in – obtaining help for user projects – the transfer and learning of thematic knowledge – identifying and verifying points of improvement – accessing relevant services – parts and tools – boosting motivation – spreading of user inventions among peers How user-run online forums support innovative activity?
  17. 17. Implications
  18. 18. New Energy Communities with Dispersed Structure • In the community energy context, community is defined as a local unit, which operates inside a limited geographical area • An energy community can also take a dispersed form and still work collectively as a virtual community
  19. 19. Interlinked Technologies and Domestication Pathways • The use of the domestication framework (Paper B) revealed a hybridization development and the gradual development trajectories of housing energy systems over time • Methodological implications, outside the energy technology domain • Qualitative studies should look at innovation diffusion of multiple technologies simultaneously • In-depth understanding of technology development trajectories and technology adaptations requires a longitudinal research approach
  20. 20. Open Pre-configuration • The traditional way of thinking of product creation in a firm-based R&D department has been that the designer has in mind a specific purpose and way of using a product (pre-configuration) • The future development of socio-technical change is hard to estimate • However, in a DIY product owners can act against the original vision and employ products in a manner other than that intended by the manufacturers (re-configuration, de-configuration) • Easy extendibility and hybridization of the system: importance of modularity and multi-purposing of products. • Policy implications: Towards Dismantled Lock-Ins
  21. 21. Air-Source-Heat-Pumps Air-to-Water-Heat-Pumps Exhaust-Air-Heat-Pumps Ground-Source-Heat-Pumps units Lead Users Helping to Recognize Reverse Salients
  22. 22. Power of Inclusive Participation with Various Groups • Study of user-run online forums indicates that company- run online forum for a single brand is an artificial and limiting approach from a user perspective • E.g. craft consumption: the basic principle is using several products as raw materials to create the new • A product category type approach may support development of user competences and lead to increased customer satisfaction • Different tools for different occasions: Online vs. real life • Towards Open Dialogue with Citizens
  23. 23. Towards Increased Energy Autonomy • Utilities and third-party businesses have started to provide micro-generation as energy services for households (i.e. servicezation) • These so-called third-party business models, including leasing, PPA or combinations, have spread centralized ownership to decentralized units of production • Control and ownership of the production system • How energy policy can support local ownership?
  24. 24. The End – The most important message • Government guarantee for micro-generation credit (a'la study loan guarantee in Finland) • Credit removes upfront payment / capital need • Benefits both local houseowners and micro-ESCO business
  25. 25. Thank you! Original research papers can be downloaded from: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Jouni_ K_Juntunen

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