Much public attention has been focused on the four transmission system operators responsible for transporting electricity nationwide. The power grids, designed for the local and regional distribution of electricity, on the other hand, remain largely ignored. This is interesting since around 98 % of Germany’s approximately 1.78 million kilometers of electrical network is made up of these distribution grids. Around 97 % of renewable energy producers feed their electricity into the grid at this level. Grids designed originally for the simple distribution of electricity are, in the wake of the ‘Energiewende’, now confronted by considerable challenges; the work they do and the demands they must fulfill are central to the transformation of the power industry.
The paper provides an empirically robust outlook on the prospects of Germany’s distribution grid operators.