Abstract for: Simulating the diffusion of smart energy behaviour among consumers: an application to Italy

The research aims at verifying the potential of smart grids for promoting sustainable innovation in the power system, with a specific focus on the medium term effects of household adoption of specific energy behaviours. To do so, a system dynamics model is developed to evaluate the potential dynamics of consumer adoption of a set of “smart energy behaviour” that include: (i) shift in time of consumption, (ii) reduction of consumption, (iii) behaviour and home automation, (iv) enrolment in demand response programs, (v) energy efficiency improvements, (vi) electricity generation. These behavioural changes are triggered by the installation of advanced-metering systems and time-of-use tariff policies, and promoted by several information diffusion channels (word of mouth, information campaigns, advertising, media coverage, demand-side-management) and catalysts. The model proposed is general but results are presented for a case-study on Italy, where the largest roll-out of smart meters has taken place. A set of 2500 simulations with stochastic parameters is performed to take into account uncertainty in their estimation. Results indicate that consumer engagement may induce behavioural changes that generate shift and reduction in household electricity consumption, which in term induce several benefits in terms of cost reduction, avoidance of greenhouse gas emissions and capacity expansion.