Decentralized & digitally into the future


DKE  German Commission for Electrical, Electronic & Information Technologies of DIN and VDE
Stresemannallee 15
60596 Frankfurt am Main

Phone: +49 69 6308-0
Fax: +49 69 6308-9863

Energy transition: Norms and standards for a clean and decentralized future

Climate change is a relevant social issue – one that didn’t only begin with the Fridays for Future movement. But what concrete actions are we taking to fight rising sea levels, increasingly frequent extreme global weather phenomena and the ever-growing demand and consumption of energy?

As Germany’s national standards body, we offer all interested parties a common platform and work together with representatives from government, companies and members of the public to develop the basics in the future energy sector. Across Europe the DKE creates framework conditions for a stable power grid and develops communication standards for smart energy management, promoting the expansion of both the flexible energy market of the future and the development of renewable energy technologies.

We will achieve the energy transition. Together!

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What is the aim of energy standards?

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The primary objective of standards in the field of energy is to develop a sustainable and flexible system for safe and intelligent energy distribution. Technology and product solutions should be suitable for users and consumers alike – without any compromises in safety.

Standards thus promote innovative developments in the energy supply of the future so that its distribution is as efficient as possible and its use remains economical. Here, existing resources must be used optimally and the energy supply must therefore be structured intelligently and flexibly – i.e. at the right place, at the right time. From the operation of electrical systems and product standards for high-voltage technology through to network control technology, standardization ensures reliability in technology, smooth communication at the resulting interfaces and thus guarantees the interoperability of products from a wide range of manufacturers.

Ultimately, the focus is on the benefits for the consumers themselves and their safety; these are guaranteed by the implementation of our national, IEC and CENELEC standards. These uniform, globally valid standards for the energy markets reduce trade barriers, help open up markets and serve to establish an unrestricted, smart energy system. Standardization stimulates efforts to reach all these power engineering goals and enables smooth and efficient implementation – which in turn ensures a constant and reliable energy supply.


Alexander Nollau
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What is the focus of energy standards?

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Energy is of crucial importance in our society. Without energy and electricity, nothing would work – from the daily charging of our mobile phones, through to covering our basic needs, such as flushing the toilet. A key factor in energy supply is therefore having a smart and reliable energy system that manages existing resources in a demand-oriented manner along the entire power supply chain. This requires a digitalized energy grid that flexibly organizes the distribution of electricity – from generation, transport and distribution through to the consumers, who can themselves also be producers.

A current trend is towards so-called "microgrids", or island networks that supply each other and other partners in the energy network. Standardization focuses primarily on intelligent and autonomous communication models, their development and the definition of uniform interfaces to ensure communication. Standards provide solutions for the effective balancing of generation and consumption, especially at the points where energy data is exchanged within this complex system. A coordinated structure and communication between the different players provide the basis for this exchange and the resulting decentralized energy system. Another aspect is the development of a high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission system, also known as the "electricity highway", which transports energy over long distances with virtually no losses and thus supports optimum use of the electricity which is generated. More and more low-voltage DC lines are also being created in order to benefit from the low-loss distribution. This is resulting in changes in the different electrical voltage systems, which is giving rise in turn to new requirements for the existing power grid. Standards define these requirements and determine, among other things, the tolerances in the fluctuations. They prescribe protective distances, ensure the safe coexistence of alternating and direct current transmission and prevent kickbacks while ensuring safety during maintenance work and also consumer safety.

Not least, the energy grid of the future is expected to have a long service life. As a result of the energy transition and political policies, consumers will increasingly act as prosumers, thus drastically increasing the flexibility requirement of the grid with regard to electric cars, energy storage devices etc. Appropriate standards are being developed to rule out overloads in the power grid and to minimize the risk of blackouts.

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What everyday benefits are to be gained from energy standards?

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Standards ensure reliability and safety in all matters directly related to energy in our everyday lives, both at the user and consumer level. We have succeeded, for example, in protecting electrical devices during operation by introducing standards which limit the voltage fluctuations in the power supply system to within a constant tolerance range that does not damage the devices.

Current trends in the energy sector are also drawing the attention of the standardization organizations to the integration of consumers in the market. New, innovative technologies such as balcony PV make it possible for consumers to put their personal energy balance onto a sustainable footing and make a contribution to the energy transition. This requires intelligent power distribution, which also makes a major contribution towards abandoning fossil fuels and thus ensuring the sustainability of energy. The agility of a uniformly standardized digital energy system, for example via microgrids, allows consumers to act as "prosumers" of energy in the market, ensures interference-free communication and supports independence from a handful of monopolies. We have joined forces with experts and manufacturers to make the necessary adjustments to smart meters and their protection profiles. Data protection is our top priority for the new billing system and could be ensured via a possible blockchain application. Finally, our standards also take into account users' points of interaction with the field of energy. Our standards test working tools and protective clothing for professionals and private consumers and thus guarantee safe working on electrical systems.