Smart energy prosumers in Norway: Critical reflections on implications for participation and everyday life
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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As evidenced by the EU’s 2016 political ambition to empower energy consumers by allowing them to become prosumers, smart energy technologies are expected to contribute to energy savings as well as healthier and more comfortable lives. Norway is a vanguard country in implementing smart energy technologies, and a growing literature of social science and humanities research has investigated how such technology impacts everyday life. Taking stock with this literature and comparing two Norwegian high-tech demonstration cases, where local production and smarter consumption is enabled through novel technologies, the research objective of this paper was to analyse the ways in which smart energy technologies affect users, and the extent to which users can influence the role of smart energy technological arrangements in their everyday lives. Results indicated that there is a divergence between the intentions and the effects of the introduced technologies. For instance, smart technologies and prosuming affected the way people organised their everyday lives by demanding more work of participants. We conclude with recommendations for practitioners relating to consumer participation and energy prosuming, advising a focus on broader implications in addition to smart technological fixes.