Citizens as a source of flexibility

Citizens as a source of flexibility

In 2022 the FlexSys project partners performed research on what the views and preferences are of potential users with respect to future flexibility services. Two surveys were conducted; one amongst the cooperative members of Energent and Ecopower, a second survey was sent to a random sample of the general population. The results show a solid base for flexibility from the end-user perspective. In this article we highlight the main findings of these surveys, for more details this document can be consulted.

The survey results underline that people are interested in flexibility services and are willing to give control of their assets to a third party. The main drivers are the contribution to the environment, enhancing energy independence and the contribution towards stability of the grid. Of minor importance but still relevant is the level of monetary compensation. On average, respondents of the general population survey – who are not member of an energy cooperative – attribute a bigger importance to this compensation than the respondents of the cooperative members survey.

Flexibility programs contain interventions where assets such as heat pumps, electric vehicles, electric boilers and battery systems are controlled in households. In some cases, these interventions will impact comfort levels in households. In the surveys it is proven that end users demand higher compensations for interventions with bigger impacts.

A next step in the FlexSys project will be to evaluate whether the monetary compensations used in the survey are mutually beneficial for the end-users as well as the providers of the flexibility service.

Within the FlexSys project, a field experiment is rolled out in Ghent. Preliminary results of this pilot indicate that the durations and boundary conditions of interventions will also influence the energy capacity of flexibility. For example, the type of building (new vs retrofitted) appears to have a significant influence on the pace of temperature drops in case of heat pump interventions. When this field experiment is completed in 2024, further insights will be derived and published.

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