Local Utilities in the German Electricity Market and Their Role in the Diffusion of Innovations in Energy Efficiency and Climate Change Mitigation

  • Dorothea Jansen
Part of the Sustainability and Innovation book series (SUSTAINABILITY)


The German electricity market has undergone a large restructuring since the beginning of the 1990s. While the number of transmission network operators and regional operators decreased drastically, the number of local utilities has stayed rather stable. New actors entered the market in generation, services and distribution (e.g. Yellow Strom, “e wie einfach” (E.ON), independent power producers, energy counsels). Increasingly, local utilities today engage in joint companies and horizontal collaboration to arrange for knowledge and technology transfer in electricity generation, in joint portfolio management and energy trade, and in joint companies for grid management (ATKearny 2007b; VDEW 2007; BDEW 2009; ZFK 1/2011, 10th of January). The engagement of local utilities may help to counterbalance the dominance of the market by the oligopolies of the four large national suppliers. Building on their close relation with customers, established knowledge in Combined Heat and Power Generation (CHP), they might enter into new business fields such as service innovations and electricity generation. They might even have the potential to trigger a change of the sector towards distributed generation of electricity and climate friendly technologies (c.f. a recent overview Bontrup and Marquardt 2010: pp. 84–92 and Chaps. 4 and 5; and Leprich 2005).


Renewable Energy Source Market Orientation Local Utility Business Field Small Utility 



Research funding by the Volkswagen-Stiftung and assistance in data collection and analysis by Sven Barnekow and Ulrike Stoll are gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Physica-Verlag HD 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dorothea Jansen
    • 1
  1. 1.German University of Administrative Sciences and German Research Institute for Public AdministrationSpeyerGermany

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