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Fostering active network management through SMEs’practises

Powells, Gareth; Bell, Sandra; Judson, Ellis P.; Lyon, Stephen M.; Wardle, Robin; Capova, Klara Anna; Bulkeley, Harriet

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Gareth Powells

Ellis P. Judson

Stephen M. Lyon

Robin Wardle

Klara Anna Capova


Managing the electricity network through ‘smart grid’ systems is a key strategy to address challenges of energy security, low carbon transitions and the replacement of ageing infrastructure networks in the UK. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have a significant role in shaping patterns of energy consumption. Understanding how their activities interrelate with changes in electricity systems is critical for active network management. A significant challenge for the transformation of electricity systems involves comprehending the complexity that stems from the variety of commercial activities and diversity of social and organizational practises among SMEs that interact with material infrastructures. We engage with SMEs to consider how smart grid interventions ‘fit’ into everyday operational activities. Drawing on analysis of empirical data on electricity use, smart metre data, surveys, interviews and ‘energy tours’ with SMEs to understand lighting, space heating and cooling, refrigeration and IT use, this paper argues for experimenting with the use of practise theory as a framework for bringing together technical and social aspects of energy use in SMEs. This approach reveals that material circumstances and temporal factors shape current energy demand among SMEs, with ‘connectedness’ an emergent factor.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 4, 2015
Online Publication Date Aug 20, 2015
Publication Date Jun 1, 2016
Deposit Date Aug 22, 2015
Publicly Available Date Aug 20, 2016
Journal Energy Efficiency
Print ISSN 1570-646X
Electronic ISSN 1570-6478
Publisher Springer
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 9
Issue 3
Pages 591-604
Keywords SMEs, Smart grid, Network management, Practise Theory, UK.
Public URL


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