TOKYO, 21 May 2019 – Spring DR, the latest project by SMAP Energy in partnership with Japanese energy supplier Looop, successfully concluded this week. 4000 Looop customers have taken part in the supplier’s latest campaign promoting renewable energy, where participants were rewarded for shifting their electricity usage with Amazon gift vouchers. In this article we will explain how Looop was able to promote the link between customer rewards and renewable energy.
What was the DR Spring Campaign about?
Looop is changing the conversation about smart energy usage with Japanese consumers. During the months of April & May, Looop and SMAP Energy embarked on a partnership to promote the usage of solar energy.
The campaign is aimed at encouraging the public to shift consumption – or “turn-up” – when there is an excess of supply by offering a tangible reward. Consumers will receive Amazon gift vouchers based on how many kWh they are able to use during times of the day with excess solar energy, called in this case “Sun Time”.
How does the Campaign benefit consumers and renewable energy?
Beginning in Spring, days grow longer and solar plants start to produce more electricity. Additionally, the need for energy-intensive applications like heating and air conditioning decreases because of the milder temperatures. If generation starts to exceed demand significantly, this can damage the electric grid by causing brown-outs due to the excess power not being used. In addition, the price of solar energy plummets – in some cases, the price can even be negative as consumers are paid to use energy! The combination of both these issues can lead to solar energy farms being shut down temporarily and the potential energy being wasted.
It’s important to note that though energy consumption is meant to increase in target periods, this doesn’t mean that participants will use more energy overall. In previous studies, we saw that energy consumption on the whole remained unchanged as participants simply shifted the timing of their activities. In other words, participants were using the same amount of energy, but by making their consumption more strategically timed they were able to earn benefits.
What was SMAP Energy’s role?
In addition to assisting in the design of the trial, SMAP Energy provided the DR app to inform their customers of upcoming Sun Times and track participation by observing energy consumption changes from the participants’ smart meter data.
The DR app helped to maximise the response by employing gamification: participants accrued points for increasing energy consumption in the designated periods Sun Times. These points had direct commercial value, redeemable as Amazon gift certificates at a rate of 5 JPY (approx. 4p)/kWh.
As with the previous Summer TOU and Winter DR trials, SMAP Energy will also conduct follow-on research in collaboration with academics at the University of Cambridge to help further advance the energy data analytics sector.
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