New energy research projects at the University of Groningen will connect the economic, behavioural and technical dimensions of smart grids to ensure the success of these new energy systems. This research draws on the strength of the University of Groningen in interdisciplinary energy research and will yield systems that are reliable, stable, and socially robust.
Smart grids rely on advanced devices for a more efficient exploitation of available energy. But interfacing them to the grid and getting users to adapt their behavior still present great challenges. A project named ENBARK, led by prof. Claudio De Persis, will develop a new approach for the modeling, analysis and control of smart grids based on energy functions. The underlying mathematical framework is based on the theory of port-Hamiltonian systems. Port-Hamiltonian systems lend themselves to the integration of dynamic pricing algorithms that allow consideration of economic factors in the control of smart grids. By combining economic and energy considerations in a single framework, the research will yield control strategies for smart grids that guarantee their proper functioning. Prof. Arjan van der Schaft and Prof. Jacquelien Scherpen are also members of this project, pursued in collaboration with the University of Delft, DNV KEMA and TenneT.
Professor Linda Steg will lead a team of researchers concerned with aligning the behavior of consumers with the technological opportunities provided by smart grids. Using the concept of environmental self-identity developed by team member Dr Ellen van der Werff, the project will examine which factors predict, explain and influence consumer adoption and use of smart energy technologies. A better understanding of the energy behaviour of consumers—a dimension that has proven difficult to influence—will help reduce uncertainty in the development of smart energy systems. Partners in the SMARTER project are the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development at Utrecht University, and representatives of different distribution system operators: Alliander, Delta and Stedin.
The Groningen Centre of Energy Law of the University of Groningen is also involved in two other projects funded by NWO’s programme Uncertainty Reduction in Smart Energy Systems (URSES). The grants awarded to ENBARK and SMARTER total over 1 million euros.
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