The new Citizens and Society in the Energy Transition (CaSET) Lab was launched on 4 October.  The CaSET Lab investigates the ethical, legal and societal implications of the role of AI in the future energy system and the transition to this future.

AI is seen as the key technology that makes us able to deal with the resulting complexity. However, if ethical, legal and social aspects (ELSA) are not included, there are risks connected to the protection of citizens’ and society’s interests.  These risks, stemming from decision making with and from algorithms and data, are concentrated in three critical areas: trustworthiness of AI, energy (in)justice, and fair market designs.

The societal impact aimed for is a trustworthy, just and fair energy system in the Netherlands by 2030.  CaSET identifies and shares the critical knowledge for the design of such systems.  A broad range of societal stakeholders cooperate to achieve the lab’s goal.  The lab couples three living lab-rooms, one to each critical area, to provide the opportunity for experimentation and testing scalability and generalisability.

The plans for the lab call for multiple projects in an initial six year time period. These projects will be distributed over the three lab-rooms.  The first project, on energy justice (as part of the JustETrans KIC project) will conceptualise and operationalise energy justice for participatory modelling and energy infrastructure governance.

The energy transition exposes the complexity of our energy system. A future system must ‘green up’ to become sustainable – while continuing to balance electricity production and consumption at all times. Digitalisation of energy systems has increased enormously, and so has the availability of data. This allows us to use AI to accelerate the energy transition significantly. The CaSET Lab is part of our activities in the context of AI for Energy, and the university-wide activities of the TU Delft AI Initiative.

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