The Central Role of End Users in the Energy Transition
The energy sector is rapidly changing. In recent years, local renewable energy generation like solar and wind have seen a spectacular increase in the energy system. Meanwhile, there is a clear trend towards increasing electrification of appliances, such as the electric vehicle and electric heating via heat pumps; causing a significant increase in peak power demand per network user.
In the energy system of the 21st century, prosumers will become key players: small consumers can now be generators of their own electrical energy and support the energy system through shifting consumption of energy towards periods with abundant renewable energy generation. In Belgium today, there are no regulations in place to offer (financial) incentives.
The key challenge is to achieve a dynamic regulatory framework which addresses the transition through respect for economic and environmental impact, while allowing freedom to develop new services, providing more durability and user comfort.
The position paper, initiated by the Energy Reflection Group (KVAB) in cooperation with EnergyVille and chaired by Ronnie Belmans, highlights the central role of the residential end-user in the transition to a low carbon society. To valorize the content of this paper, an international symposium will be dedicated to this topic in the context of the Flemish Thinkers Programme.