Unlocking the potential of smart grid technologies with behavioral science

Smart grid systems aim to provide a more stable and adaptable electricity infrastructure, and to maximize energy efficiency. Grid-linked technologies vary widely in form and function, but generally share common potentials: to reduce energy consumption via efficiency and/or curtailment, to shift use to off-peak times of day, and to enable distributed storage and generation options. Although end users are central players in these systems, they are sometimes not central considerations in technology or program design, and in some cases, their motivations for participating in such systems are not fully appreciated. Behavioral science can be instrumental in engaging end-users and maximizing the impact of smart grid technologies. In this paper, we present emerging technologies made possible by a smart grid infrastructure, and for each we highlight ways in which behavioral science can be applied to enhance their impact on energy savings.