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


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

Efficient Energy Systems

The “Efficient Energy Systems” project provides information and a platform for dialogue on the energy transition for decision-makers, industry experts and the public alike.


  • Project duration: 2011 – 2015
  • A dena initiative Funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi)
  • Cooperation partners: Industry and scientific institutions as well as associations

Energy-Efficient Municipalities in Russia

dena has developed an energy and climate protection management system (ECM) with which municipalities can systematically and sustainably reduce their energy consumption. Following successful application in German and Chinese cities dena’s ECM will be implemented in Russian municipalities, taking into account specific local circumstances.


  • Project start date: July 2019
  • Providing support and advice for the implementation of dena’s energy and climate protection management (dena ECM) in two Russian pilot municipalities
  • Adaptation of dena’s ECM instruments to the specific characteristics of Russian municipalities
  • Series of consultations for municipalities from two selected Russian regions
  • Providing support for selected implementation measures in two Russian pilot municipalities

Advising BMWi on energy policies

Since 2016, dena has advised the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy on matters of energy policies in its position as framework agreement partner. It provides the consultancy services as the principal contractor, cooperating in this capacity with 14 partners from business and science.


  • Project start: September 2016
  • Client: Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy
  • Partners: adelphi, BBH, Best Friend, ecofys, ewi ER&S, Fraunhofer ISI, Frontier, GRS, ifeu, Öko-Institut, Prognos, PwC, SUER, University of Stuttgart (EEP & IER)


China pledged to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060 and peak carbon emissions by 2030. This is an important step in the fight against climate change, and vital to the success of the global energy transition. With the Sino-German Energy Transition project (EnTrans), GIZ, dena and Agora Energiewende will support Chinese policy makers and think thanks in the implementation of a low-carbon energy transition and the integration of large shares of fluctuating renewables into the energy system.


  • Project start: January 2021
  • Project duration: 2 years
  • Goals: Exchanging knowledge for a successful energy transition in China
  • Partners: GIZ, Agora Energiewende

Geschäftsstelle Dialog Energieeffizienz

Die Geschäftsstelle Dialog Energieeffizienz wurde von der dena an ihrem Standort Berlin für die fachliche Unterstützung des Bundesministeriums für Wirtschaft und Energie (BMWi) im Rahmen der Kommunikations- und Aktivierungskampagne „Deutschland macht’s effizient“ eingerichtet. Sie fungiert als Bindeglied zwischen dem BMWi und kampagnenrelevanten Stakeholdern im Bereich Energieeffizienz und erneuerbare Energien.


  • Projektbeginn: 2020
  • Projektziele: Fachliche Beratung des BMWi bei der kommunikativen Ausgestaltung der bundesweiten Informations- und Motivationskampagne „Deutschland macht’s effizient“. Im Fokus des Auftrags steht die Einbindung zentraler Akteure über dialogbasierte Austauschformate.
  • Projektpartner: Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie (BMWi)

Energy Efficiency Networks

In the context of the Campaign, the German Federal Government has agreed with 22 associations and organisations to establish around 500 new energy efficiency networks by end of 2020.


  • Project duration: 2015 - 2020
  • Partners: BMWi and BMU + 22 industrial associations
  • Project objective: 500 networks by end of 2020:
  • Project objective: 75 PJ in primary energy savings
  • Project objective: 5 million-tonne reduction in greenhouse gas emissions


Initiative Netzflex

Die Initiative Netzflex hat das Ziel, den Mehrwert netzdienlicher Flexibilität aufzuzeigen und ihr Potenzial für die Energiewende nutzbar zu machen. Hierfür hat die dena gemeinsam mit Stakeholdern ein Positionspapier verfasst und einen Katalog für regulatorische Sofortmaßnahmen entwickelt.


  • Ziel: Regulatorische Sofortmaßnahmen für netzdienlichen Flexibilitätseinsatz
  • 18 Projektpartner
  • Laufzeit: 2018 bis April 2019
  • Project Information

Klimaneutrale Quartiere und Areale

Welche Ansätze für klimaneutrale Quartiere und Areale gibt es in Deutschland, Frankreich, Österreich oder in den Niederlanden? Die dena-Analyse von bestehenden und erfolgreichen Projekten gibt anderen Akteurinnen und Akteuren praktische Hilfestellungen, ihre eigenen Ideen schneller in die Breite zu tragen.


  • Projektlaufzeit: 08/2020 – 04/2021
  • 2. Projektziel: Bestehende Ansätze für klimaneutrale Quartiere und Areale zu stärken und einen Beitrag dazu zu leisten, dass Akteure ihre Projekte schneller aus dem Pilotstadium heraus in die Breite tragen können.
  • 3. Betrachtete Länder: DE, AT, FR, NL
  • 4. Projektpartner: Fraunhofer ISE
  • Project Information
  • Project Website

Kompetenzzentrum Kommunale Wärmewende

Kommunen sind zentrale Akteure der Wärmewende. Ihre Rolle und die Einführung der kommunalen Wärmeplanung als Instrument werden durch das Kompetenzzentrum Kommunale Wärmewende (KWW) gestärkt.


  • Projektziel: Die kommunale Wärmeplanung (KWP) in Deutschland zu stärken und Kommunen bei der Wärmeplanung aktiv zu unterstützen.
  • Projektlaufzeit: 2021 - 2025
  • Als erste dena-Außenstelle in Halle (Saale) in Sachsen-Anhalt – einer vom Kohleausstieg betroffenen Region – angesiedelt.
  • Beauftragung zur Gründung, Aufbau und Betrieb durch das Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie (BMWi)