Investigating the peculiarities of sustainable energy policies in islands communities for smart grid development: insights from complexity science and agent based models
Initiatives and projects ranging from European islands to the Falklands and the Pacific Fiji islands are implementing renewable energy sources. They not only address the unique features of islands but also to reduce the economic vulnerability of small island states and in some cases, regenerate depopulated island communities and enhance socio-economic and ecological sustainability. Islands are often regarded as laboratories for, or precursors of, wider energy transitions and the “smart grid” innovation makes no exception. The “smart grid” is an umbrella term that covers modernization of both the transmission and active distribution grids and the different competing smart grid architectures could transform the electricity industry and the relations with consumers and prosumers. This paper asks two – relatively simple – questions: are there any socio-technical energy systems and dominant designs more prone to emerge depending on the topologies and scale of islands? How far can we learn and scale up lessons from the studies of island energy communities that are useful in other Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS) with greater scale and interconnectivity? This exploratory paper is part of on-going research project (CASCADE) to model smart grids as Agent Based Systems embracing concepts and techniques from Complexity Science. There are three key objectives. The paper initially summarizes the key particuliarities of island energy systems, including the scale and boundaries to the socio-technical system that combine to determine the appropriateness of different energy responses, balancing and optimizing the various combinations of distributed renewable generation, energy storage (including plug-in cars), and loads. From this, a provisional conceptual model will be presented which identifies the range of factors that (re)configure to influence the potential dissemination of new energy technologies within island communities and the range of agents that influence that process. The paper will build on an expanding literature on modelling societal transitions with cognitive agents and agent transformation to justify our modelling choices. Central to the question is how to represent the cognitive agents and their adoption of new technologies and adaptation patterns.Validation may benefit from data from the Bornholm smartgrid case and other case studies.
Citation : Rynikiewicz, C., Snape, J.R. (2010) Investigating the peculiarities of sustainable energy policies in islands communities for smart grid development: insights from complexity science and agent based models. In Islands of the World XI - Celebrating Island Connectivities. International Small Islands Study Association (ISISA). Islands of the World XI - Celebrating Island Connectivities. Bornholm, Denmark: International Small Islands Study Association (ISISA).
Research Group : Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development
Research Institute : Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development (IESD)
Peer Reviewed : Yes