GAIM: empowerment in energy applications through inclusive game design, artificial intelligence and system modelling

Photo: Tanankorn Pilong/iStock

By developing integrated tools as the shared platform between citizens and the energy system, and thus enabling user-centred sustainable energy systems, we envision a future where households play an active role in the energy transition.

We strive for an integrated interdisciplinary approach across humanities, social, natural, and computer sciences, and long-term collaboration between academia, consumers/prosumers, aggregators/suppliers, and energy communities/cooperatives. Results will include both the practical means and instrumental policy recommendations to enhance citizens’ empowerment.
We will develop and demonstrate integrated tools as the shared platform for citizens’ long-term engagement and empowerment in energy applications, through research on persuasive and inclusive serious game design, coupled with artificial intelligence techniques, energy models, and input from smart meter data, to provide informed and reliable feedback to citizens about optimal home energy management.
The tools will be co-designed, used, and validated in collaboration with Dutch municipalities to enable a wide range of energy-related customer-oriented services, which are crucial for a low-carbon energy system, from increased energy efficiency to flexibility provision for market optimisation and grid services. Our consortium spans expertise and partners along the whole energy value chain, allowing us to identify replicability potential, and result in tailor-made policy recommendations.

Increasing shares of intermittent renewables and targets for greenhouse-gas emissions reduction challenge the reliable and economic operation of energy systems. An effective energy transition requires urgent actions on empowering consumers, enabling demand-side flexibility, and promoting new roles such as prosumers, aggregators and energy communities. Currently, citizens’ engagement in new energy services and products is hindered by energy market regulation, and lack of information, two-way communication, and trust with utilities. We envision learning communities as vital in enabling citizens to conceptualise socio-technical imaginaries of user-centred sustainable and affordable energy systems.

This project is funded by NWO and runs from 2022 to 2026.

Lead researcher

Other researchers at Utrecht University