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Case Study 1: PEEKapp Project (Collecting 15-min load profiles of households in Austria)

  • Dr. Johannes Reichl, Energieinstitut an der Johannes Kepler Universität Linz, Austria

Dr. Johannes Reichl from the Energy Institute Johannes Kepler University Linz presented "Collecting 15-min load profiles of households in Austria" in case study 1. The focus of the presentation is to examine new ways of collecting data in residential buildings with the emergence of ICT in the energy system, focusing on smart metering systems. From this point of view, this case study describes the data gathering process in the EU funded research project PEAKapp (, which aimed the improvement of a smartphone app for allowing households to save electricity and to increase their consumption of clean and moderate-priced electricity in times of high renewable electricity production. The test of the app applied between 2016 - 2019 in four European countries, Austria, Latvia, Sweden, and Estonia was motivated to review their energy consumption via the app, and therefore to implement energy savings due to energy-saving measures. In PEEKapp, the households can observe how much electricity they consumed and at which time of the day their consumption is increasing. In addition, there is an additional benefit of the app in terms of a more conscious point of view about consumption. Moreover, the app alerts users to times of discounted electricity prices through push messages. The users can learn whether they consume renewable based electricity or fossil fuel based electricity. When users participated, the app collects every day consumption data as well as how households use the smart phone app. Electricity profiles of users are regarded as “sensitive data”. PEEKapp provides opportunity to observe the everyday practices and electricity consumption patterns of households from morning until the night. Therefore, such sensitive data should be safeguarded. To obtain such data, the collaboration with electricity provider is necessary. However, one of the challenges is that energy providers don’t usually know much about their customers’ profile (They know about the address of the households, their names, etc. However, they do not know about how many people live in a house, for example). The data obtained in PEEKapp provides all this socio-demographic data such as education. Peculiarities of PEEKapp Data are listed such as sensitive data, necessity to safeguard this sensitive data, full openness (Zenodo platform), providing the socio-demographic data that the electricity providers do not have, high statistical capacity and opportunity to observe daily consumption patterns. In the contrary, the app has some challenges; hard to convince the users to participate in this app, make the users contribute to the app (in terms of sharing their data), mindset of different cultures/countries, different prototypes, you may persuade the top-management; however, the operational process is not controlled by this top-management, different levers of people with different mindsets in utility companies, lack of interest from policy makers or industry for raw data; instead, mostly researchers are interested in (particularly for smart meter data which is huge and complex), the inability of electricity market to react fast, the approach of utility companies is more different than the approach of researchers. In terms of FAIRification, it is not really sufficient to make the data findable or accessible. To make it usable, we also need some intervention from the researcher’s side to make sure that it will be correctly utilized.

Case Study 2: Multinational Survey among 18,000 households in Europe from ECHOES Project

  • Dr. Andrea Kollmann, Energieinstitut an der Johannes Kepler Universität Linz, Austria

Dr. Andrea Kollmann from the Energy Institute Johannes Kepler University Linz presented " Multinational Survey among 18,000 households in Europe from ECHOES Project" in case study 2. The major goals of the ECHOES project are to understand factors that influence individual and collective energy-related choices and behaviors, and illuminate differences between countries in energy choices and attitudes. For this aim, a large-scale survey, which was managed in 31 European countries (EU-26, UK, Turkey, Norway and Switzerland). This survey was presented to approximately 600 respondents per country (less in the Island countries of Malta and Cyprus) in their native language, which led to a total sample of 18,037 completed surveys. The survey took 20 minutes per response and representative sampling quotas in age, gender, income dimensions. When the features and advantages of the ECHOES Survey are examined, it has a large data set and did not produce sensitive data; The data is published in both ECHOES webpage and Zenodo platform; data is available in different formats (excel file, SPSS file format for econometric analysis); Working with a survey company (An international marketing survey company. Their experience to frame the questions and disseminate the survey contribute to the purposes of the project); Fairly easy process to work with a survey company and a more consolidated survey structure; Data security (Since the survey company takes the responsibility, even the researchers do not know about the respondents' profiles); The respondents are all volunteers; Refund for the participation; A good dataset as a teaching material. The difficulties encountered in the ECHOES project are summarized as follows; very few people are aware of the dataset; Not updated; Lack of dissemination of the data; No keywords provided for the ECHOES dataset on Zenodo; Outside of the original consortium, no other academic researchers are publishing with this dataset (A concern for reusability); Although the data is available on Zenodo platform and official web page of the project, the data is still not much utilized by different user groups (Visibility problem); It is hard for researchers to work on the data that is already publicly available for a long time. (Publicly available and accessible, but the risk of repetition in similar studies); Inability to integrate qualitative data into the dataset (Lack of original ideas for how to integrate such qualitative data, and issues with GDPR – because the more specific the data is, it tells more about the person - the risk of identifying the person.) and lastly the lack of visualization.

As a result of expert opinions from the Energy Institute Johannes Kepler University Linz, the following can be listed as general achievements:

  • Data protection (safeguard) of data is needed for sensitive data
  • Open access data - Zenodo platform and official web page of the project make the dataset accessible
  • Observation of energy use patterns
  • Available data in different formats (excel file, SPSS file format for econometric analysis)

When we consider what is mainly challenging are:

  • Hard to find users to participate in the PEAKapp
  • Different cultures, dynamics
  • Lack of interest from policymakers (weak awareness to their customers)
  • Lack of keywords and visualization
  • Lack of interest to publish any academic study with the available ECHOES data (a visibility concern)

A number of recommendations can also be listed:

  • Accurate and updated data is needed
  • Visualization of data
  • Land to find adequate data