European legislation and incentives programmes for demand Side management

Maria de Fátima Castro, Shane Colclough, Bruno Machado, Joana Andrade, Luís Bragança

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
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Energy is now intrinsically linked to technological development, given it powers all such systems. The use of fossil fuels to supply the required energy is causing global environmental and health issues and is impacting on all life forms on the planet. Given increasing energy consumption, anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are consequentially increasing. Therefore, it is necessary to replace fossil fuels with renewable energies, biofuels and eco materials and related technologies and to try and find a way to develop sustainable zero emission solutions for all areas including constructions, transport and water resources.

A critical and evolutionary way of thinking about the energy (and other resources) demand, management and supply is necessary because there are clear concerns about irreversible impacts to the world and a scarcity of the resources as well. Energy supplies should be mostly or entirely through renewable resources and highly efficient technologies put in place to achieve solution such as nearly Zero Energy Buildings (nZEB).

At the same time, all the energy and resource use processes should be optimised in order to maximise the benefits, reduce the costs and promote stakeholders (consumers, companies or governments) network, toward a circular economy. This could be the way to supply the demand without increasing the scarcity of the resources and to simultaneously achieve environmental benefits. Therefore, it should be possible to improve productivity with the same amount of resources, by e.g. maximising the potential of smart grids and heuristically develop solutions with stakeholders.

The concept of Demand Side Management (DSM) emerged after the energy crisis and it employs solutions such as reducing the daily peak load. At the same time, creating an educational grid is important to change the established paradigms, in order to promote critical thinking about the wasted resources and thinking holistically about overall consumption. This paradigm shift is changing the market, making it more competitive and reducing inefficiency by promoting the efficient use of resources including the deployment of energy storage during the periods of low consumption in daily peak shift.

All these issues present a new way of thinking in the path towards sustainability, maximising the circular economy and reducing environmental impacts, making connections and using the Internet of Things to provide more information to all stakeholders. All these changes in social behaviour are related to the rational use of resources and make it easier to improve the existing infrastructures instead of building new ones.

This paper analyses the state of the art at the European level in the production and use of renewable resources. A survey and analysis of the incentives to consumers and the policies to encourage the circular economy, and parallel analysis of benefits and drawbacks, was made. It is intended to identify the main forms of intervention and improvement, culminating in a reflection on how they should be applied to improve the expected results and make them more efficient and sustainable. This is intended to be an evolutionary framework of this concept, from the first stage of use of energy to its final utilisation. By approaching the task in a heuristic fashion, it is hoped to make the environment healthier, and it is envisaged that this concept will evolve from a linear to a life cycle approach.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSolar Energy
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 19 Dec 2019


  • Zero energy buildings
  • Demand side management
  • Thermal Energy Storage
  • nearly Zero Energy Buildings
  • sustainable construction


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