Managing, rather than supplying

Our total network is 573,000 km long and stretches across 5 European countries. In Germany, we transported more electricity in 2017 than any other distribution grid operator. With decentralisation, the role of the major energy companies is changing: energy providers are becoming energy managers. In a decentralised energy market, they have to incorporate electricity from increasing numbers of power plants in the grids while balancing out the fluctuations due to wind or solar energy.

Electricity when and where you need it

This trend is still continuing. Many people are already taking advantage of the opportunity to conveniently and independently use their self-generated electricity at home and feed it into the grid. The share of these prosumers – customers who both consume and produce energy – is going to keep increasing, and they will be able to share their resources with their families, friends and neighbours.

Virtual power plants control decentralised generators

With the SmartPool IT platform, innogy has brought the virtual power plant of the next generation onto the market. Virtual power plants control the distribution and sales of electricity produced by multiple small generators. These were previously designed to pool several hundreds of generators, but SmartPool is capable of managing several thousands. This means that the processes become significantly cheaper.

SmartPool not only markets the aggregated green electricity, it also balances out fluctuations and keeps the grid stable – an accomplished feat considering the high production share of weather-dependent wind and solar energy.

Energy from far and wide

In a decentralised energy market, innogy’s SmartPool provides the prosumer with an efficient, balanced electricity supply.

Functions of SmartPool

SmartPool performs 3 functions:

Participants in the SmartPool

The 3 functions named above control the energy management for 9 participants in the SmartPool system.

Private households

Households go from being traditional consumers to their own producers.

Electric mobility

Energy for electric vehicles can be generated through decentralised production, even at high loads.


Synergies created during supply to energy-intensive trades through management of energy.

Energy storage

Grid backup and decentralised storage of energy.

Municipal utilities/grid operators

Key partners for the production and distribution of decentralised energy. Regional and interregional.

Photovoltaic power

Solar power modules are already increasingly common on the roofs of private households.

Wind power

One of the most rapidly growing sources of renewable energy. Even during a lull, SmartPool ensures a stable electricity supply.

Combined heat and power

Mini power plants that produce energy from natural gas or biogas that they can feed into the grid.

Biomass power plant

Energy and heat are generated through the combustion of renewable energy sources.

Connecting energy creatively

The energy system of the future connects a number of small parts together as a whole, and we are testing this already – with DESIGNETZ. Led by innogy and funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) 46 partner organisations from the energy sector, industry, and research and development collaborated to study the energy system of the future.

DESIGNETZ is one of 5 “showcases” in the SINTEG (showcases for intelligent energy) programme  – digital agenda for the energy transition, which was initiated by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi). The goal of this programme is to develop model solutions for a climate-friendly, reliable and efficient energy supply. DESIGNETZ was launched on 1 January 2017 and received almost 30 million euros from the government.

DESIGNETZ – the sum of all the parts

DESIGNETZ starts with the prosumer and links all participants with one another. Connecting the local producers and consumers allows for the local utilisation of renewable energy. When this cannot be balanced, the search is extended to neighbouring regional or inter-regional distribution grids.

Multi-level energy management

Local energy areas are connected with regional and national energy areas. In case of local and / or regional energy surpluses or shortages energy can be exchanged with the next level area.

Test regions for DESIGNETZ

3 regions with highly diverse consumption patterns, representative of Germany as a whole.

North Rhine-Westphalia

Urban centres with a high demand for energy.

Rhineland Palatinate

Challenges through significant structural changes, e.g. intensive expansion of renewable energyproduction and the decline of high energy consuming industries like steel and coal.


Rural areas with a high production volumes of renewable energy, as well as urban areas with high energy demand.

Digitalisation of the grid

Our aim is the management of flexibility and development as well as the provision of products and services.

Decentralised generation

Energy generation is becoming decentralised, shifting from traditional power plants to a more efficient total energy system consisting of many diverse participants.

Efficiency and customer behaviour

Data technology allows the distribution of energy loads to be managed and analysed efficiently.

New production architecture

Reflecting the trend of decentralisation, traditional production architecture is also shifting towards smaller decentralised systems such as solar panels on private houses.

Storage and flexibility

A surplus production of energy is stored at many locations to support decentralised generation. This allows for flexible use of resources.


Thanks to the synergy between power plants and grids in the digitalised energy system, decentralised energy can be distributed efficiently.

Electric mobility

Designetz makes allowances for the shift towards decentralised charging facilities associated with electric vehicles. Batteries thus also serve as a means of storage in the energy system of the future.

Market design and new roles

A decentralised energy industry also presents the market with new challenges. New market participants must be taken into account in the future and must be compensated for their energy production or consumption.


Strong partnerships for the future of energy

46 consortium partners from municipal utilities, business, industry, technology and research are working together in over 30 subprojects.

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