As more and more European citizens will move to cities over the next decades, the dynamics of urbanisation will result in an increase of energy demand and CO2 emissions. The utilisation of renewable energy technologies will support to reduce the impacts of climate change and lead to a paradigm shift of the energy system. But only additional efforts will ensure security of energy supply. The concepts of Demand Side Management (DSM) and Demand Response (DR) offer new opportunities to face these challenges. DSM can be understood as a portfolio of measures aiming at the direct influence of electricity consumption, e.g. energy demand shifting from peak to off-peak times, energy efficiency measures etc. On the other hand, the consumer's reaction can be summarised as DR. This means that incentivising the consumer monetarily - by changing the electricity price - leads to a change in energy demand. Major infrastructure investments in the European electricity grid are needed to keep up stability of energy supply. DSM has the potential to ease this pressure that the electricity market is technically and economically experiencing. But to fully tap the potential of DSM, European member states need to overcome current regulatory barriers and appropriate DR programs need to be implemented. Following up on these the following research questions will be answered in this thesis: - Which kind of market access requirements need to be provided to electricity consumers in order to attract them accessing the energy market? - What 'good practice' examples of DSM operator models can be identified in the pilot projects (e.g. pooling, aggregators, virtual power plant etc.)? In many European countries large industry consumers participate in DR programs as a potential for DSM is given. The applicability in the residential sector is still controversial as only small electrical loads are available (e.g. dishwasher, washing machine, freezer etc.). In recent years many co-funded pilot projects has been carried out to further research the potential of DSM in this area and to prove its applicability in real-life conditions. In particular the concept of load aggregation seems promising as small electrical loads are aggregated which enables the trading of electricity at the energy market. Thus, this thesis aims at identifying the most promising pilot projects focusing on residential consumers that are granted access to the energy market. In particular projects with concepts of load aggregation are selected to learn more about their applicability in Austria. A profound literature review and state-of-the-art research builds the cornerstone of the methodological approach of this thesis. This endeavour is followed by a thorough work of structuring, comparing and interpreting meta-studies and other assessments of Smart Grid and DR pilot projects. Several indicators are carefully selected focussing on the analysis of requirements that are decisive for electricity consumers accessing the energy market. Finally, an analytical framework is developed with the aim to offer guiding principles for the assessment of pilot projects. In addition, technical experts with specific knowledge about the projects are contacted for telephone interviews. By consulting these experts an additional, external project assessment is gathered which is an important input for formulating the recommendations. Based on the analytical framework developed in this thesis four different European pilot projects are analysed; one project in the Netherlands, one European project with pilot sites in France and Spain and two German pilot projects. These projects were selected as they integrate energy and ICT concepts focusing on load aggregation of demand side resources in the residential area and renewable energy generation systems (e.g. wind turbines, PV systems) via utilisation of an ICT platform. The findings of the pilot projects- analysis are condensed and summarised in recommendations concerning which kind of market access requirements need to be provided to electricity consumers. In total seven recommendations are presented which are listed in the following: 1. Community creation supports user activation 2. Variable tariff models need to offer an added value for an acceptable price 3. Based on visualised electricity consumption data consumers can be incentivised to participate in DR programs 4. Data protection, privacy & security aspects need to be considered early in the beginning 5. The regulatory transformation of the energy market requires the introduction of new market players that develop services attractive for consumers 6. As financial advantages for consumers are quite low, aggregators need to concentrate on key messages on a broader level to attract consumers 7. Standardisation and interoperability of technologies proved to be a basic condition for the interaction of technical appliances and enabling technologies Based on the findings of the pilot project it can be concluded that the market access barriers for residential consumers are high as a lot of preconditions need to be fulfilled. These requirements start with the long-term activation of residents by intensive planning, structuring and implementing of community building measures. Attractive tariff schemes are needed that convey a key message with which the consumer identifies him- or herself. Tariff options as an economic (cost-optimal) and a sustainable (self-sufficient) one are in particular interesting for regions that have a high amount of customers with distributed renewable energy technologies. The visualisation of energy consumption is inevitable as relevant information about consumption data, price signals and even data of a reference group gives the consumer the chance to adapt his/her behaviour. Data protection is a prerequisite for residential consumers accessing the energy market. In all pilot projects analysed privacy and security concerns were early addressed by considering the protection of personal data via participation agreements as well as security demand and risk mitigation in the ICT design. In the pilot projects DSM operator models were developed supported by different software solutions connected to hardware devices following the concept of a virtual power plant (VPP). In Austria a few VPP operators are currently active but which only commercialise flexibilities of industrial and commercial companies. The sector of residential consumers is still untapped. Although Austria has advanced its regulatory conditions the economic analyses in the pilot projects have proved that load aggregation in the residential sector does not offer a viable business model. Economic advantages for residential consumers are limited as well. Thus, other aspects as saving money or financial rewards need to attract or convince users to participate in DR programs. Nevertheless, it can be expected that the market for DR in the residential sector will develop in the upcoming years (under the condition that technical requirements as a smart meter roll-out has been carried out and the interoperability of home energy management systems improved).