Smart meters could become a central infrastructure for future smart energy systems. They can visualise energy efficiency potentials and enable flexible energy management in the future. Thereby, smart meters complement the volatile feed-in of renewable energies. In Germany, the "rollout" of smart meters started in 2020. However, it is unclear whether and to what extent small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in North-Rhine Westphalia will be able to reap the benefits of the newly installed metering systems. And what kind of support do SME need in order to utilise efficiency and cost-reduction potentials of smart meters?
The aim of the transdisciplinary research project is therefore to find out how SMEs use smart metering systems in practice and how they need to be supported. Accordingly, transdisciplinary application tests with SMEs will be conducted. On the basis of a comparative analysis of different services (visualisation, submetering), the strengths and weaknesses of the respective approaches will be investigated, SME-specific needs will be identified, and communication measures will be developed. From this, efficiency potentials of the now certified metering systems for SMEs as well as strategies for supporting the companies can be derived.
Within the research project, the researchers of the Wuppertal Institute takes on socio-technical analyses. Specific needs of SMEs and their attitudes towards smart meters are identified through series of interviews in the SME Co-Creation Lab. The research team also follows a transformative research approach: in addition to scientific contributions, a best-practice film for SMEs as well as recommendations for action will enable transferring the results to the relevant stakeholder groups.