Smart grids, local adoption of distributed generation and the feed in tariff policy incentive

Panel: 1. Foundations of future energy policy

This is a peer-reviewed paper.

J Richard Snape, Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development, United Kingdom


Smart Grids are often proposed as a means make the most efficient use of available network infrastructure. To deliver such benefits, Smart Grids rely on the adaptation of various consumption practices on the part of the domestic consumer. In addition, the concept requires the adoption of various enabling technologies. The diffusion of these innovations, in both practice and technology, are crucial to the success of the Smart Grid as a means of decarbonisation and efficient infrastructure usage.

This paper focuses on the role of domestic users of the electricity network as potential adopters of renewable micro-generation. Data on UK household adoption of micro-generation in the UK in response to national Feed in Tariff policy are analysed from both a temporal and spatial perspective. An Agent Based Model is presented and used to investigate the speed and scale of technology adoption in the presence of policy incentivisation. Heterogeneous agent behaviour is simulated, using parameters from prior research and the data analysis presented to simulate different users’ patterns of consumption and consumers’ adoption strategies, including peer effects.

We illustrate the impact that micro-generation adoption, in particular photovoltaic panels, will have on energy consumption, particularly the geographic location of distributed generation as compared to consumption and urban centres. We explore how such adoption may change the typical consumption pattern of both individual households and aggregated groups of households directly and consider research findings on indirect impacts of micro-generation on householder consumption. We discuss the implications of these findings for visions of the electricity network as a Smart Grid and for energy policies designed to promote both adoption of micro-generation and change of consumption behaviour in the Smart Grid context.


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Download this paper as pdf: 1-163-13_Snape.pdf