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.

Energy systems

A holistic view of refurbishment

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

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)

Energy Efficiency Award

dena’s nationwide Energy Efficiency Campaign is helping companies to exploit existing energy and cost-saving potential.


  • Project start: 2007
  • 661 energy efficiency projects submitted
  • 8 terawatt-hours in annual energy savings
  • 44 state governments
  • 40 prizes awarded
  • 30,000 euros in prize money
  • 1 expert jury



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

Combined Heat and Power Generation

The combined generation of heat and power (CHP) makes a significant contribution to increasing energy efficiency where generation is concerned. Furthermore, CHP can be used to reduce costs both in the industrial sector as well as in households.


  • Project duration: until 2015
  • Part of the "Efficient Energy Systems" project

Grid Flex Study

In its “Grid Flex Study", dena is investigating how storage facilities can be used to increase flexibility in the electricity grid. The aim is to identify operating models for storage facilities that are economically viable and which reduce the load on the electricity grid.


  • Project start: February 2016
  • Study duration: 12 months (until the end of January 2017)
  • The partners in the study are 23 companies from various industries (grid operators, energy providers, plant engineers and providers of storage facility solutions)

Grid Study I and II

With the help of Grid Studies I and II, dena presents the measures which will allow the German electricity grid to meet the challenges of the future: through targeted grid expansion and at the same time optimising the existing energy infrastructure.


  • Grid Study I: released in February 2005
  • Grid Study I: 17 partners from the industry (grid and installation operators as well as their associations) as well as the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) and the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB)
  • Grid Study II: released in November 2010
  • Grid Study II: 14 partners from the industry (grid and installation operators as well as their associations) as well as the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) and the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB)