By Bernt A. Bremdal, NCE Smart Energy Markets and Narvik University College
Prosumers have the ability to change the face of the energy market, impacting price stability and potentially challenging the economic basis for fossil fuel generation. But – consumers need carefully thought out business and regulatory strategies to make the transition from consumer to prosumer.
The basic aim of IMPROSUME was to define and study the role of prosumers in the future power market. Energy prosumers are not only consumers that also produce energy, but also sellers of energy and therefore active participants in the market. If a producer merely consumed what he produced he would only influence the demand side of the market. Obviously whenever surplus energy is fed into the grid the supply side is also influenced. Consequently prosumerism is much more than homesteading. In fact it also extends beyond the act of selling the surplus energy that is not consumed. The prosumer might in fact wish to sell what he has for a given price and then buy what he needs from someone else, thus benefiting from the arbitrage. Enjoying the double role as producer and consumer and having access to the energy market is going to provide the prosumer with a tactical choice. How he capitalizes on this depends on his flexibility. Shifting demand or supply along a time line will empower the prosumer and enable him to maximize benefits in terms of his own needs, but also in accordance with the state of the grid and the market price.