The fish does not know the water. Similarly, most citizens do not know the energy grid by which they are surrounded. Many parts of society - from transport to food system, from climate policy to communication technology - are inextricably linked to the way energy is generated, distributed, and used. How we (learn to) relate to this energy system thus determines not only how we as citizens relate to the society we are part of, but also how we can shape and change it together. This requires a good, transparent, and activating description of the energy system.
Commissioned by Top Sector Energy Digitisation and the Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland (RVO), Waag is working on a position paper following Baringa's ongoing research into a reference architecture for the Dutch energy infrastructure.
A reference architecture is a description of a system's entire collection of business structures, processes, protocols and standard definitions.
The primary goal is to formulate clear frameworks on the basis of which different components can fit together well. This should be clear and flexible enough to provide a basis for diverse and unforeseen new technologies, actors, initiatives and processes.
A good reference architecture provides citizens and developers with perspectives for action, but is also a system that is fair and safe for all those who do not want to be or can be active. A reference architecture in line with the Public-Stack model ensures that no one is left behind.
Waag's research shows that it is important for the reference architecture to accommodate citizens in different roles, more than just as 'end users'. This requires not only being guided by innovations, but actively involving the broader societal context in the design process.