1: Innovative strategies to co-create demand response mechanisms with consumers

In recent years, limited progress has been made to include consumers in demand response solutions development, In particular for individual households demand response. The main reason for this is the rigid structure of current price-based and incentive-based demand response mechanisms. Very few flexibility is allowed on the grids and consumers are not engaged to participate in the development of the solutions. That is why, consumer engagement is one of the main issues of demand response in Europe and why SENDER makes it a priority.

In SENDER, consumer engagement is at different stages:

  • During the project: consumers are placed at the heart of the specifications, design and development (WP2-4) through co-creation activities, and the specifically developed energy services will include economic and non-financial incentives;
  • After the end of the project, in the long term: a “package” of services will provide additional value for the consumers in the fields of home convenience, assisted living and home security.

In SENDER, the co-creation mechanisms aim also to bridge the gap between technology providers and consumers and thus the co-creation activities involve a wide variety of actors. The steering groups and workshops will be composed of professionals of the energy field (DSOs, suppliers, aggregators, energy cooperatives, etc.) but also local and individual actors (consumer associations, end-users, etc.).

Objective’s indicators: Number of stakeholders involved in each co-construction workshop, Percentage of contacted consumers that finally participate in the pilot.

types of stakeholders implicated in the co-construction activities

2: Innovative models to identify consumer patterns and forecast consumption (energy demand)

Digital technologies and artificial intelligence are more and more developed and very widely used to forecast the availability of resources (e.g. daily or hourly solar and wind characteristics at a specific location to predict the availability of solar and wind-based renewable energy). This improvement of the technology increases the performance and decreases the costs. However, in terms of demand response, it is mostly happening in one way: grid and market operators send signals to the consumers which can react.

In SENDER, innovative models aim to develop a pro-active demand response. To do so, consumer patterns (WP5 & WP6) need to be identified along with their behaviours: sensors, IoT components, machine learning and AI algorithms will be used to pro-actively identify these patterns and behaviours via data collection and analysis.

Social science techniques will allow to define the consumer segmentations and relevant target groups for the project (e.g. based on gender, incomes, culture, location, type of house). The SENDER partners will thus better understand the different consumer needs and demand patterns to forecast these different energy loads and optimise the response using renewable energies.

Objective’s indicators: Relative improvement of load forecast errors/deviations compared to the State of the Art (in %).


improvement in load forecast errors

3: Digital twins to improve flexibility potential of the households

The consumer segmentations identified during the first steps of WP5 & WP6 will need to be digitally reproduced to help predict the energy demand from the selected consumers. The digital representations of the consumer segmentations are called digital twins. The data of these digital twins can be aggregated to create a complete view of the different consumers’ interaction with the network. Based on this data aggregation (WP5), energy services actors (e.g. grid operators, aggregators, energy cooperatives, energy communities) will be able to better identify, exploit and commercialise the flexibility potential of consumers’ behaviours. This will lead to an optimised grid management, a higher degree of RES integration and reduced downward regulation of RES sources.

Objective’s indicators: Increase in controlled flexible power demand (in % of installed flexible demand), amount of flexibility provided per household and year (in kWh)


kWh of flexibility per household per year

4: Innovative business model that shares profits between consumers and grid operators

Currently, demand response projects are mostly built from the grid operator/DSO perspective. This leads to a one-sided distribution of the economic benefits of demand-response the grid operator/DSO and to a lack of consumers engagement, in the short- and long-term.

SENDER aims to bring a fair share of the project solutions´ benefits to the consumer/prosumer. This is most important to involve the consumer in these new mechanisms and appropriately shows that the consumer has a pro-active role at the heart of the energy market. Therefore, a dedicated business model will be developed (WP8) in co-creation with relevant actors and supported by the co-creation steering group to share fairly the profits from demand response.

Objective’s indicators: User acceptance of new business model proposals measured by number of SENDER pilot implementation subscribers; economic incentives proposed to consumers (€/kWh of flexibility provided)

€/kWh of flexibility provided by the new business models

5: New legal and regulatory framework that accelerates and facilitates the implementation of consumer-based DR technologies

Currently, regulatory protections for consumers are often barriers to the implementation of innovative solutions not yet taken into account by the regulation framework. In the electricity sector for instance, the implementation of smart meters raised a lot of questions related to data acquisition, usage, and benefits for consumers.

In SENDER, the main activities are based on the use of individual private data to identify behavioural patterns of individuals. Given the sensitivity of data collection and analysis, potential regulatory and legal barriers can be critical to the project’s implementation and replicability. That is why, SENDER will analyse existing legislation/regulation (WP4) to outline proposal designs to the co-creation groups. Moreover, the SENDER consortium will study the differences of legislation regarding project-critical issues in the countries of the consortium and pilot project participants. Based on this analysis, the project will provide recommendations to public bodies in order to facilitate the harmonisation and implementation of sustainable actions by consumers.

Objective’s indicators: Publication of documents giving recommendations to the EU parliament group working on energy; Number of documents for the regulatory authorities in each country with demonstration site.

regulatory documents for new legal frameworks

6: Demonstration on 3 sites of the SENDER solution

In order to validate the methodology and the technologies developed in the project, 3 demonstrations will be implemented in WP7, in countries with different cultures (Spain, Austria and Finland) and populations with different needs or relations to energy. The spectrum is wide in order to facilitate the replication of the solutions after the end of the project in other EU countries similar to the chosen demonstrations.

Objective’s indicators: Number of households in the demonstration, amount of energy affected by the DR in the demonstration sites, number of households involved in the project.

households in the demonstration sites

7: Sustainable solution with strong dissemination activities and replication plan

Many highly relevant project results that support sustainability, climate protection and the energy turnaround do not receive the required stakeholder attention to make a societal impact expected in the long term.

SENDER relies on strong communication and dissemination activities implemented in WP9 to ensure a wide outreach. Also, SENDER will build on the results of previous H2020 projects, directly involving solution developers as partners, and co-constructing the solution with the consumers. This way, long-lasting solutions can be implemented during the project. Finally, a replication plan and an exploitation roadmap will be elaborated in WP8 to study the replication potential of the solution in other sites, supported by the commercial interest of involved partners.

Objective’s indicators: dissemination events amongst the scientific community, publications in academic/scientific journals, Number of visitors to the website per year.

dissemination events

8: Strong cooperation with other relevant EU projects and tackle cross-cutting issues

The co-creation process and consumer engagement applied in SENDER are based on state-of-the-art models for innovation and technology development. The applied models are mostly based on social sciences and humanities research and attend to issues of inclusion – such as gender – in technology and service development.

These cross-cutting issues will be tackled in the project as the partners will directly work on these topics to implement them into SENDER. In addition, SENDER will organise collaborations (WP8 & WP9) with other projects such as INTERRFACE and COORDINET supported under the topic LC-SC3-ES-5-2018-2020 that approach the challenge more from a grid perspective while SENDER focuses on the consumers’ perspective. Through the BRIDGE initiative, SENDER also aims for a strong collaboration with relevant projects and whom to establish collaborations with to create beneficial synergies for all projects.

Objective’s indicators: number of projects to collaborate with, number of joint events organised.

projects/initiatives in direct collaboration with SENDER