Aims for European leadership in research on user aspects of green energy transition

Smart Innovation Norway strengthens its position in research on applied sustainable energy by expanding the research department with new expertise in social research. This section will be headed by Thomas N. Mikkelsen.

By Smart Innovation Norway
Thomas Mikkelsen
Section Head Social Innovation Thomas Mikkelsen Thomas is a leading expert in the fields of customer engagement, communication and behaviour in the utility sector. He was a former energy utility marketing director with experience of effective customer apps and other online services that brought mass customer engagement and behaviour changes; for instance, pioneering the field of digital marketing with prize winning campaigns like European Utility Award winner; The Meter Hunt for Danish utility SEAS-NVE. He worked as a Senior Manager with international companies like Panasonic and Green Energy Options in developing the future business of smart home technology and home energy management systems through visualisation of energy use in private homes and creating customer relations through the use of big data. He is engaged in several inter-European networks focusing on user involvement, customer interaction and actual implementation of smart energy technology. Thomas was, for instance, the 1st rapporteur of Bridge’s Working Group on Customer Engagement and is currently Task Leader Joint Communication Efforts.
In recent years new technologies to support the green energy transition has been developed and deployed all over the world. However sometimes the result of promising technologies is not as expected. A major reason for this is, that there is often a gap to bridge between the actual technology and how it should be used and incorporated into new ways of working and living.
User aspects in green energy transition
It requires an understanding of the many different actors who need to work together. It is an interplay between different responsibilities, understanding the drivers and barriers between stakeholders in the energy industry, the users, the legislation, and the technology. The maturity of green energy technology is now at a stage, where the actual large-scale implementation starts taking place all over the Nordic countries and in Europe – yes, the world even. One very good example is the introduction of EV’s.
Important milestone for Smart Innovation Norway
The technology is ready – now it is about figuring out how to establish the infrastructure and legislation to support the needs of the users. It requires different expertise than building the technologies and testing them – expertise often coming from the areas of social sciences. Hence, for Smart Innovation Norway it has been an important milestone to include also these aspects in its scientific research on the green energy transition. Thomas N. Mikkelsen, former CEO of GECO Global, look forward to working in a larger research organization: – We see that research on user aspect which we have focused on for many years, are now in the core of the energy transition. The knowledge and expertise of Smart Innovation Norway is a perfect match for our ambitions to be part of the immense change in the energy sector and society in general.
Rapid growth during the past years
Kjell Reidar Mydske, CEO of Smart Innovation Norway, sees great opportunities in adding social scientific research expertise to the company: – In Smart Innovation Norway we have grown rapidly during the past years, and we always sought to be part of the development of sustainable measures and technologies – in Norway and beyond. By extending our research group with scientific expertise on user aspects of the energy transition, we set an ambition to become a European leader in this field within the next years. Dieter Hirdes, Head of Research and Innovation at Smart Innovation says: – I am extremely happy that Thomas Mikkelsen with his team has decided to join us. We know them from several EU projects focusing on research on user aspect of the energy transition. They have a long track record in European research in a field that fits perfectly to our current expertise. Our goal is to become a European leader in research on user aspects of the green energy transition within a few years.
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