We had a talk with Prof Johanna Hoffken from the Technical University of Eindhoven. responsible for measuring the social impact of MUSE GRIDS in the two demosites of Osimo and Oud-Heverlee.
What have been the updates in Osimo/Oud-Heverlee since last September?
Since the last update, we have studied social key performance indicators in Osimo and Oud-Heverlee. The set of social key performance indicators is a list of possible social impacts that the MUSE GRIDS project can have on different stakeholders of the project. For example, the project could potentially impact social cohesion in the neighbourhood, or social acceptance of renewable energy technologies. We studied these indicators in the beginning of the project to be able to compare the current situation, with the situation at the end of the MUSE GRIDS project. In October, we joined an event in Oud Heverlee organized by Th!nk-E, to survey possible end users of MUSE GRIDS technologies. In Osimo, we stayed for a few days in October as well, to conduct semi-structured interviews with 14 end users, supported by our project partner Astea. Both visits were inspiring and instructive for our research!
What do you think are the most important results on your work since last September?
The most important result of our work since September is the completion of our baseline definition of the social key performance indicators. As explained above, we conducted fieldwork in Oud Heverlee and Osimo for the completion of this baseline definition. This baseline definition is essential in our research, as it makes it possible to compare the situation before and after MUSE GRIDS interventions. Also, it sets the compass and direction of the evaluation of the MUSE GRIDS project during the course of the project.
What were the main challenges of the year and how did you overcome them?
The biggest challenge of the year was finetuning the set of social key performance indicators: there is a fine line between creating a complete or an excessive indicator list. One of our methods is to ask stakeholders via interviews or surveys about these indicators, to avoid overburdening our stakeholders with questions we prefer to have a concise and relatively short indicator list. However, creating a short indicator list might lead to incompleteness: there are many social indicators in literature on energy projects, and most of them are relevant for our project. The different cultural contexts in which our demonstration sites are situated is another factor that had to be accounted for. Hence, every indicator had to be carefully considered regarding their relevance for the MUSE GRIDS project.
What should we expect in 2020?
In the first two months of 2020, we will start preparing our field research. We plan to visit the different demonstration sites for interim assessments during 2020. We will visit the demonstration site in India in November 2020, as comparing energy communities in the Indian and European context is part of our MUSE GRIDS task. We are excited to see the MUSE GRIDS project develop and to be part of this development!