This paper presents insights and perceptions of stakeholders involved in the development and implementation of residential smart grid pilot projects in the Netherlands, adding to the limited information that is currently available in this area, while expectations about the potential benefits of smart grids are high. The main research questions of this study are: (1) How have some typical residential smart grid pilots in the Netherlands been set up? (2) Which stakeholders are involved in these pilots in the year 2014? (3) What are their views and perceptions with regards to the development and performance of residential smart grids? and (4) What do these stakeholders think about the products and services that may support an active participation of end-users in a smart energy home? To obtain information, we evaluated five residential smart grid pilot projects where smart energy products and services have been implemented. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with nine stakeholders involved in these projects. The Strategic Niche management framework was used to identify the present state of development and implementation of smart grid pilots. Our study shows that in the Netherlands residential smart grid pilots have been set-up and funded mainly by the government and grid operators. Other stakeholders involved include energy suppliers, end-users (as an energy cooperative or individual household), product and service suppliers, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) companies, and knowledge institutes. Currently a technology-push approach exists which barely includes an integrated approach towards smart grids products and services development. To the opinion of the interviewed stakeholders, current products and services offered in residential smart grid pilots are functionally attractive, but often too technically complex for the understanding of end-users. Hence, the general view held by respondents is that end-users should be the starting point in the development of smart grid products and services at the residential areas.
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