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Making consumers the beating heart of Europe’s energy market

An EU-funded project is empowering Europe’s household and industrial energy consumers to radically change the way they use energy.

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The EU-funded REDREAM project is overhauling Europe’s energy market by putting consumers at its centre. Through its online energy ecosystem, it is making it possible for consumers to check and adapt their energy behaviour and share their experiences with other energy users. This will contribute to a stable, secure and future-proof energy grid. In Europe, each inhabitant is responsible for producing about 6.4 tonnes of CO2 each year. Additionally, over 70 % of Europe’s energy comes from fossil fuels – around one third of which is natural gas. REDREAM aims to help consumers rethink how they use energy and adopt a more sustainable approach. “We have to adapt our consumption to energy generation,” states energy system expert Dr Álvaro Sánchez Miralles of REDREAM project coordinator Comillas Pontifical University, Spain, in a news item posted on the ‘Energy Post’ website. “By adapting consumption, we enable more renewables, reduce gas dependency and cut energy costs.”

Consumers hold the power

How is this being done? As explained in the news item, if people and businesses own local renewable generation and combine it with smart systems that enhance electricity price and generation visibility, they can shape their supply and demand. The project allows consumers to determine how much power they use through flexible generation, interconnectivity and behavioural change. “Consumers are encouraged to be flexible in their consumption for several reasons – it improves energy efficiency and helps the electricity system become more balanced and stable,” elaborates Dr Sánchez Miralles. “Our ecosystem helps show consumers how much they can save on energy bills,” states Dr Sánchez Miralles. “Consumers must be motivated to be flexible.” The REDREAM project is furthering the work of another EU-backed project called FlexCommunity that is already running a 30-household pilot in Bath, United Kingdom. REDREAM’s ecosystem is helping FlexCommunity to further improve its renewable energy supply and demand, and also providing support for more urban and rural households around Bath to take part in the project. “We’re now signing up more people and getting smart kits installed into their homes that can remotely monitor their electricity consumption,” explains FlexCommunity project manager Alison Turnbull. The Bath pilot’s experiences are being adapted to the REDREAM (REAL CONSUMER ENGAGEMENT THROUGH A NEW USER-CENTRIC ECOSYSTEM DEVELOPMENT FOR END-USERS’ ASSETS IN A MULTI-MARKET SCENARIO) project’s other demo sites in Valladolid (Spain), Viterbo (Italy) and Zagreb (Croatia). Besides helping consumers save money, this approach could help users increase their renewable energy use and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while also showing the way to less dependence on natural gas imports. For more information, please see: REDREAM project website


REDREAM, energy, electricity, consumer, ecosystem, consumption, renewable energy

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