Challenges Faced by Distribution Network Operators in Eastern Germany


The expansion of renewable energy sources in eastern Germany presents significant challenges for distribution network operators. These operators, as part of the ARGE FNB Ost, play a crucial role in integrating electricity from renewable sources, electrifying heat and transportation, and incorporating the generated energy into the power grid. However, the network expansion poses considerable obstacles for these operators.

Challenges faced by distribution network operators in Eastern Germany

The expansion of renewable energies in the eastern German states is a crucial step towards the energy transition. The distribution network operators of the ARGE FNB Ost have a pivotal role in enabling the integration of electricity from renewable energy sources, the electrification of heating and transportation, and the utilization of generated energy into the power grid. However, the network expansion presents significant challenges for the distribution network operators.

Network optimization reduces the need for infrastructure expansion

The distribution network operators in East Germany follow the NOVA principle, which means “network optimization before reinforcement before expansion.” They first assess if capacity increases are possible in existing lines, such as by replacing conductor cables. Only then are more comprehensive measures taken, such as upgrading substations and lines or constructing new facilities. This approach enables efficient utilization of existing infrastructure and reduces the need for new constructions.

Dynamic Network Expansion Plans: Flexible Adaptation to Regional Needs

The network expansion plans of the distribution grid operators are dynamic and continuously adapted to changing goals, legal requirements, and new insights. For example, the regional design of municipal heat planning is expected to be incorporated into the network expansion plans from 2026 onwards. This allows for flexible planning and targeted adaptation to the needs of the region.

Advancing Digital Solutions for More Efficient Network Expansion

To enhance the efficiency of network expansion, the implementation of digital solutions is being prioritized. This includes streamlining processes, increasing the number of skilled professionals, and adapting procurement strategies by engaging additional service providers. The aim of digitalization is to enable an intelligent network operation that can meet the growing demands of the system.

Distribution grid operators call for consistent regulations and conditions

The distribution network operators are urging policymakers to create consistent guidelines and framework conditions. The legal and regulatory framework should be reviewed and adjusted to enable a secure, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly energy mix of electricity and green molecules. Simplified planning measures in the medium voltage range and regional storage solutions are necessary to cope with the increase in generation. Furthermore, the expansion of large-scale photovoltaic open-space installations should be better controlled.

Key Role of Distribution Network Operators in East Germany’s Energy Transition

The distribution network operators of the ARGE FNB Ost play a crucial role in the success of the energy transition in East Germany. Despite the challenges they face, there are also opportunities for a successful implementation. By expanding renewable energy sources and implementing intelligent grid operations, secure, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly energy supply solutions can be created. However, it is important for policymakers to create the necessary framework conditions and support network expansion. Only then can the regional energy transition in East Germany be successfully advanced.

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