Motivation

The ubiquity of technology in every-day life requires people of different academic backgrounds, disciplines and occupations to understand technical details to have a share in such technologies. Especially smart grid technologies rely on the acceptance of the larger population. Smart grids as “intelligent energy network[s] and control system[s] of intelligent generators, storage facilities, loads and transportation equipment with the aid of information and communication technologies (ICT) as well as automation technologies”, however, are very complex: A multitude of professional speakers from different disciplines come together to define the infrastructure of the new technology (e.g. the energy industry, home automation, e-mobility, installation engineering, energy management legislation and weights and measurements laws, computer science, engineering, electrical engineering, but also psychology, sociology etc.). All of these professionals have different understandings of the smart grid and different means of expressing these perspectives.

This infrastructure will ultimately boost the energy turnaround and incorporate more and more consumers to become energy producers and independent market players. The smart grid system is therefore shaped by a multitude of parties: consumers, prosumers (blend from producer and consumer), grid operators, power station operators, photovoltaic systems, solar thermal power plants, wind turbines, biogas plants as well as storage power plants. Not only experts but also consumers in such distributed networks need to have special competencies to actively participate in the system.

These competencies include language competencies for language reception and production since the use of new technologies requires verbal instructions and mediations. Verbal exchange is needed to convey knowledge about functions of single components and relations of system parts. Consumers, however, pursue other perspectives than experts: Their primary interest is not in a complete or consistent use of a precisely differentiated special language explanation. Instead, they want to gain intuitive linguistic access to solutions in every-day situations. Consumers often choose ad hoc expressions to communicate their problems and needs. This raises the question, how the use of smart grid technologies throughout populations can be accelerated by offering more uncomplicated linguistic access to this topic. The following questions must be answered to create this easy access: What associations trigger terms in potential consumers and prosumers? How can these associations be interpreted? Can consumer-friendly glossaries be created?