On 6 November 2019, SHERPA participated in the 4th Technology Assessment Conference in Bratislava.
During the session on value-driven innovation approaches: theory and practice, organised by Rathenau Institute (the Netherlands), our partner Marlou Bijlsma from NEN shared the findings from the SHERPA smart grids and ethics case study and standardisation efforts in the sector to solicit ideas to create space for organisations to allow public values to be integrated into the existing paradigm.
The electricity sector plays a key role in the transition to a more sustainable future. From central power producers, we are moving to a plethora of decentral renewable and green energy sources.
The use of smart information systems in the energy distributions holds the promise that countries make smart use of the available grids to ensure affordable and sustainable energy for the ever-increasing energy demands of smart living. How to shape such a transition to make sure human rights are observed and the benefits are for all? While it may be easy to agree with values like human autonomy, equity, fairness or justice, it is a challenge to translate the implications to ones’ everyday work.
The grid network operators are well aware of the different values and issues: privacy of smart meters, fairness in the costing, the interest of a few against the benefit of the larger group. Smart grid operators, however, tend to focus more on technical challenges of the smart grid such as interoperability, semantics, data architecture and making the grid work for reliable energy supply. The extent to which they incorporate more social values depends on the governance in their organisations. What if the operators were allowed more room for creativity to make the system fairer?
Creating space for values
Join the discussion in the SHERPA stakeholder network. Or share your ideas and best practices in the standardisation work programme of the IEC Commission Power systems management and associated information exchange (IEC/TC 57) via your national standardisation body.