Decentralization is the greatest challenge facing energy companies in Germany - directing energy efficiently has become more important than how much to produce. 

"Distribution System Operators (DSO) and energy companies are working feverishly on various new models and technologies to ensure the right amounts of energy get to the right places at the right times, as well as attempting to pre-empt looming new questions," said Tobias Rothacher, Senior Manager of Renewable Energies and Resources at Germany Trade&Invest.

Electric cars of the future will present a whole host of new riddles in power availability that will need answering, as will eventual turns to electric forms of heating and/or cooling. 

Renewable energy is now provided by more decentralized sources, with government-subsidized photovoltaic energy in Germany increasing particularly. Renewable energies, including windpower, photovoltaic and hydroelectric, contributed to 23% to of German energy consumption in 2012 and produced 9.3% more energy than they did in 2011.

47.7% more photovoltaic energy was produced in 2012 than in 2011, with an overall potential of around 285,000 hectares of photovoltaic sites (400GWp of capacity) available. 

"During summertime in 2011, Germany covered most of peak load with PV - at 27GWp of installed PV-capacity," explained Rothacher.

"Going to 52 GWp in a few years, PV will displace non-renewable base load capacities more and more, increasing the daily volatility of electricity prices and thus opening business cases for the implementation of storage, smart-grid and demand side management technologies."

This and related topics will be discussed at the SMART GRIDS summit from January 28-30 in Berlin.