Verkade, N., MSc

Emerging energy practices in the smart grid

Technology, Innovation and Society Group, School of Innovation Sciences, Eindhoven University of Technology,

Supervisor(s): Professor G. Verbong


BSc of Business Economics – Organisation Economics, University of Amsterdam
BSc of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, University of Amsterdam
MSc Urban Environmental Management, Wageningen University
MA thesis: Measuring Power: Informational Governance of the Smart Meter and the Role of Grid Operators.


This research project is part of the NWO call URSES: uncertainty reduction in smart energy systems. In this project I study the development and impact of household energy technologies and emerging energy practices.

The main question is to what degree emerging e-practices regarding electricity generation, storage, e-mobility and cooperatives are becoming integrated in the household energy practice. From a practice theory perspective, I describe and follow these new e-practices and their integration with the larger routines of practices in which electricity is managed and consumed in the household. The goal is to learn more about the expectations we might have for these technologies to be successful in facilitating householders to become energy citizens in a smart energy system. This will be increasingly needed in a future energy system characterized by renewables, intermittent supply, self-production and electrification. Flexibility is a keyword, which can be offered through technological means of storage and automation, but can also be found in time-shifting the practices of daily life. By studying emerging e-practices, I aim to find out how these different flexibilities interact, what their role might be and what we could expect from householders.
I apply qualitative ethnographic methods to study the integration of new e-practices and their impact on household routines. Quantitative data on the times and patterns of consumption will be used to evaluate the effect of emerging e-practices. Contextual research (media, user forums, instruction guides) will be done to establish what the e-practices (“as entities”) are and how they develop over time in the hands of users.
This project is a cooperation with Wageningen University, where Robin Smale also does a PhD in this topic, supervised by Gert Spaargaren and Bas van Vliet.