The promise of smart grids is very attractive. However, it is not yet clear what the future smart grid will look like. Although most researchers acknowledge that users will play a more prominent role in smart grids, there is a lot of uncertainty on this issue. To counter the strong technological bias in smart grid research and literature, we propose that research should focus more on the social and business dimension of smart grid developments. The main elements of such a research agenda are:
Developing more socially embedded visions on smart grids and the services it will provide
A shift in the focus on developing smart grids components and systems towards the services it will deliver
Development and testing of innovative user-centered business models and ecosystems.
More general, on the role of users in smart grids, the main lesson is that user roles should be taken more seriously in relation to smart grids: experts should no longer regard users exclusively and/or simply as potential barriers to smart grid innovation but also as important stakeholders and potential participants in the innovation process.