Smart grid: Hope of hype?

Denmark is one of the countries investing the most in developing a “smart grid”. This paper unpacks one influential national vision of the smart grid to identify what kinds of expectations guide the work of smart grid innovators and how the boundaries of the smart grid are defined.  Our findings show that the smart grid hype embodies several implicit expectations that serve to guide research and investment and to attract new players into the field. On the basis of our analysis, European policymakers might consider how their (intentional or unintentional) choices serve to create or maintain certain boundaries in smart grid development: for example, an exclusive focus on electricity within the broader context of a sustainable energy system. As serious investment starts being made in the smart grid, concepts like the supergrid, flexible demand and a broader smart energy system will start competing with each other.

Lunde, M., Røpke, I.  & Heiskanen, E. (in press).Smart grid: hope or hype? Energy Efficiency, August 2015. Online: