Project Startup at Alliander – Energy case studies in the Netherlands
Maud van Merrienboer, Junior Lecturer & Researcher, Faculty of Social Sciences, VU Amsterdam
Students, industry professionals and faculty educators from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam came together at Alliander’s headquarters in Arnhem on 19 November 2018. This day signified the start of the second Learning Cycle in the PEOPLE project. Focus of the day: getting to know each other and co-creating a first plan of action for the different energy-related case studies.
In the morning, academia and industry learnt more about each other’s ‘worlds’ by sharing personal mind maps created in response to the question ‘What comes to mind when you think about the Energy Transition in The Netherlands?’
In a plenary discussion the differences between participants became apparent. The industry professionals focused mainly on the practicalities (and costs!) of the energy transition whereas the students and faculty educators focused mostly on concepts such as trust, privacy and communication, as well as the importance of global climate challenges.
Following this group dialogue the three case managers from Alliander presented their business cases and elaborated in-depth on the challenges they were facing. All cases in this second PEOPLE Learning Cycle revolve around the acceptance and use of new technologies and services, namely the smart meter, a prepaid energy service and hydrogen as an alternative energy source. The presentations were each followed by a plenary gathering of preliminary thoughts and questions with regards to the fieldwork of the students.
In the afternoon teams of students, case managers and facilitators were formed. Together, they filled in a PEOPLE Research Canvas. This enabled students and case managers to jointly share thoughts and ideas about the upcoming research, its intended focus and the expected added value. Additionally, it helped students and case managers shape their working relationship as they made clear agreements on how and when to come together and communicate.