This article aims at analysing the potential of consumer empowerment and engagement in the electric power system, focusing on the case of Italy. Firstly, we build a System Dynamics model to evaluate the potential dynamics of consumer adoption of ‘Smart Energy Behaviours’, including within this term different levels and combinations of the following actions/behaviours: i) changes in the electricity consumption patterns; ii) effortless reduction of wasteful electricity consumption; iii) participation in Demand Response programmes; iv) residential electricity generation. Secondly, we evaluate the impacts of such adoption dynamics on the national electric power system in terms of electricity demand, system costs, and greenhouse gas emission reductions. Results indicate that consumer behavioural changes can induce important benefits to the system and participate to the reduction of the electric sector carbon footprint in an efficient way. Thus, innovative policies and initiatives that promote a more proactive end-user interaction and involvement in the consumption and production of electricity should be highly encouraged.
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