Energy supply through renewable energy

There are substantial challenges facing the future of energy supply. Electricity sources are volatile, so how can the security of supply and grid stability be guaranteed in Germany?

Smart grids, energy storage units and load management technology will contribute to demand side management, building a foundation that ensures the energy system will remain efficient and secure in future.

A holistic view of refurbishment

Energy systems

Tomorrow’s energy systems will have to overcome many and varied challenges. Production, distribution and consumption need to be linked intelligently to guarantee a constant supply of renewable energies.

In 2011, Germany decided to withdraw from nuclear power. The final nuclear power station is scheduled for decommissioning no later than 2022. This fundamental transition in energy supply will also necessitate further developments in the current system of storing and distributing electricity. The transformation process can succeed on a technical and social level by integrating a variety of concepts.

Smart grids: New grids for new energy

Electricity highways are among the most vigorously debated projects within the energy transition. They are modern grids that transport wind energy from Germany’s north and east to the south and west.

In future, public grids will have to be prepared for the fluctuation in electricity generation using renewable energies. Many smaller power generation units are already connected to the grid, among them photovoltaic systems mounted on the roofs of houses. They are decentralised systems that feed electricity into the grid. So-called ‘smart grids’ will be needed in order to manage this ‘oncoming traffic’ in the electricity grids. The term describes intelligent grids that use a variety of measures to ensure efficient interaction in production, storage, grid management and consumption. New instrumentation and control technology will have to be fitted to the conventional grid.

Smart markets: Consumers as producers

The demand for new technical systems extends beyond the grids themselves. Consumers play an important role in this respect, as they will increasingly become electricity producers and in doing so will precipitate a greater demand for needs and consumption-based integration of generation and demand. The term ‘smart markets’ describes the various activities involved in this process.

Digitalisation will enable this integration of generation and demand. This can involve installing intelligent measurement systems (smart meters) to replace current electricity meters installed in homes. Not only are these systems designed to measure electricity consumption or the amount of electricity fed into the grid in real time, they can also transmit important information on grid status and other factors to the system operator.

Energy storage systems: For when the sun doesn’t shine

Merely transporting and distributing the electricity produced using renewable energies will not be a panacea. The sun does not always shine, and the wind is not constant. Storing the energy is therefore among the most significant challenges within the energy transition. Hence, the federal government will make up to 200 million euros available in the next few years to conduct research into specific storage technology.

A ground-breaking approach is to link sectors based on so-called power-to-gas technology. This is a chemical procedure that splits water to produce hydrogen, which can then be stored or used as a fuel. The hydrogen can also be converted into methane by adding carbon dioxide, for instance from a biogas system. The methane can then be fed directly into the natural gas network.

Sectoral linkage concepts of this kind produce synergy and contribute to decarbonisation through green electricity. Flexible conventional power plants that guarantee a secure electricity supply are needed to ensure security of supply when renewable energy can only generate lower volumes.

The energy transition as a social issue

Social aspects are of vital importance during the transformation of current practices into a new energy system. After all, the success of the energy transition is decided as much by the construction of new electricity lines, gas power stations, electricity storage units and off-shore wind farms as it is in cellar boiler rooms, electronics shops and car dealerships. This requires a thorough exchange of information, reliable consultancy and honest discussions.

What is needed is a forward-looking strategy that optimises the technical and commercial aspects of the defined objectives and that creates a fair balance of interests under consideration of the general social framework. dena provides concepts, information and network processes to accompany the energy transition in Germany. Together with partners in politics, administration and the economy, it develops solutions and strategies for forward-looking, intelligent energy systems that guarantee a sustainable and secure energy supply. Here, dena mediates the multi-stakeholder processes, advises on policies and strategies and prepares surveys and studies on the energy industry. It is also involved in the implementation of dialogue platforms and the organisation of nationwide campaigns to provide stakeholders and the general public with targeted information.

Our projects

Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue (BETD)

The Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue is the leading international conference on energy transition, held and hosted by the German Federal Government and orga-nized jointly with the Federal Association of Renewable Energy (BEE), the Federal Association of the Solar Industry (BSW-Solar), the German Energy Agency (dena) and eclareon.


  • Project term: 2015
  • Project objective: As a high-ranking conference, the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue strengthens the international exchange of experience on the sustainable transformation of energy systems.
  • Project partners: the German Solar Association (BSW-Solar), Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), German Renewable Energy Federation (BEE), eclareon GmbH

Clean Energy Certification-System

Ein Blockchain-basiertes Zertifizierungssystem für grünen Wasserstoff und dessen Derivate. Das CEC-System vereinfacht die komplexe Nachweisführung zur Erfüllung der Strombezugskriterien gemäß RED II.


  • Start: Juli 2022
  • Projektziel: Vereinfachte Zertifizierung für grüne Energieträger
  • Projektpartner: Siemens Energy & TÜV Süd

Demand Side Management in Baden-Württemberg

The purpose of the project is the analysis of cost-effective demand side management potential in cooperation with companies in Baden-Württemberg and the gathering of experience with marketing such potential in practice. Approaches suitable to advance the development of the flexible load market will be established.


  • Project duration: 07/2014 – 12/2016
  • Involved DSM marketers: 7
  • Companies personally contacted: 136
  • Companies whose DSM potential was analysed: 41
  • Companies that received comprehensive advice during marketing: 1 so far
  • Industries which the companies analysed can be categorised under: > 14

dena-Dialog Netze

Mit dem dena-Dialog Netze bringt die dena Energiewirtschaft und Politik zusammen, um Lösungen für zukunftsfähige Netze und deren Umsetzung zu diskutieren. Mit innovativen Ansätzen wird so die Zukunft der Energieinfrastruktur mitgestaltet.


  • Start des Projekts: 2022
  • Partner: 9
  • Anzahl Veranstaltungen im Jahr: 3
  • Ziel: Dialog zur Energieinfrastruktur der Zukunft


  • Project Information

dena Study Integrated Energy Transition

The goal of the Study is to make the expertise and requirements of the industry available to successfully design the second phase of the energy transition.


  • Project launch: February 2017
  • Project term: June 2018
  • Over 60 partners
  • Focus: Energy systems, buildings, transport, industry

dena-Stakeholder-Prozess: Höhere Auslastung des Stromnetzes

Maßnahmen-Katalog zur Senkung der Kosten für Netzengpassbewirtschaftung in den nächsten fünf Jahren.


  • Projektstart: April 2017
  • Zwei Workshops unter Beteiligung von Übertragungsnetzbetreibern, Verteilnetzbetreibern, Herstellern, der Bundesnetzagentur und Verbänden
  • Rund 200 Mio. Euro jährliches Einsparvolumen identifiziert
  • Partner: Büro für Energiewirtschaft (BET)
  • Project Information

dena Distribution Grid Study

The dena Distribution Grid Study is a detailed examination of the need for expansion and conversion in the German electricity distribution grids based on two alternative expansion scenarios for renewable energy sources. The results highlight a significant need for expansion of the high, medium and low voltage as well as the intermediate transformer levels by 2030.


  • Publication: December 2012
  • Partners of the study: 17 companies (with a focus on grid operation and energy supply)
  • Involvement of a board of expert advisers from ministries and associations
  • Agents: dena, Technical University of Dortmund / ef. Ruhr GmbH, Prof. Dr. Gert Brunekreeft

Digital Energy World

During the second phase of the energy transition, digitalisation will increasingly demand from all participants systematic action outside of defined structures, as well as needs-based solutions. This can only work if the actors think and act within a cross-sectoral framework. This approach will help develop new business ideas and marketable products.


  • Project start: January 2016
  • The partner network currently comprises 29 companies and associations from the energy industry, building industry, IT and metrology, as well as technology manufacturers and consultants.
  • The aims of the platform: to bring together and network the key figures within a cross-sectoral framework; to provide expert support in the digitalisation of the energy world; to play a key role in shaping the terms of digitalisation; and to create awareness and acceptance in the general public.


Digitalisierung in der Energiewirtschaft – DIGI4E

Analysen und Dialogprozesse zur Unterstützung der Digitalisierung im Bereich Energie, Energieeffizienz und erneuerbare Energien


  • Projektlaufzeit: 07/2016 - 02/2018
  • Zuwendungsgeber: BMWi
  • Über 100 Plattformen und Initiativen zur Digitalisierung des Energiesektors identifiziert.
  • Mehr als 150 Geschäftsmodelle im Kontext „Energieeffizienz“ analysiert.
  • Dialogveranstaltung und Expertenworkshops
  • Project Information


The goal of the EU project e-Highway2050 is to develop a long-term planning methodology for the expansion and restructuring of the European electricity transmission grids as well as a modular development plan for grid infrastructure in Europe by 2050.


  • Project duration: 40 months
  • dena as moderator of the work package Stakeholder Involvement
  • International project consortium consists of 27 partners