Use of the grid

Updated: 11.01.2019

Author: Tim Sternkopf

Plant operators are statutorily entitled against the grid operator to the physical acceptance and transmission of all electricity from renewable sources offered (§ 11 par. 1 EEG). The grid operator shall not make the conclusion of a contract a condition for fulfilling his obligation to purchase and transmit electricity (§ 7 par. 1 EEG).


Process flow

  • Grid connection
  • The claim for physical acceptance and transmission arises when the plant is connected to the grid.
  • The grid operator then purchases and transmits the electricity.


In general, the priority acceptance obligation is unconditional and has to be fulfilled without undue delay (§ 11 par. 1 EEG 2017).

Priority to renewable energy

  • Priority to renewable energy
  • Non-discrimination

When physically accepting and transmitting electricity, the grid operator shall give electricity generated from renewable sources priority over electricity from energy sources other than renewable ones (“principle of priority“, § 11 par. 1 EEG 2017). Electricity generated by CHP shall have the same priority (§ 11 par. 1 sentence 3 EEG 2017).


The grid operator may deny the purchase and transmission of electricity generated from renewable energy sources in the following cases:

  • Feed-in management. Grid operators shall be entitled to take technical control over renewable energy plants that are equipped with a remote control device to avoid grid capacity shortage in the respective grid area including the upstream grid. The procedure is the following:
    • The grid operator shall make sure that priority is given to electricity generated from renewable sources or by CHP unless other installations for the generation of electricity must remain connected to the grid in order to guarantee the safety and reliability of the electricity supply system. Moreover, solar energy plants with a capacity of up to 100 kW shall be curtailed only after the other installations have been curtailed (§ 14 par. 1 sentence 2 EEG). He shall also ensure that he has called up the data on the current feed-in situation in the relevant region of the grid (§ 14 par. 1 EEG). Furthermore, grid operators shall make sure that the largest possible quantity of electricity from renewable sources and by CHP is purchased (§ 14 par. 1 EEG).
    • Prior to taking control over a plant whose capacity exceeds 100 kW, the grid operator shall notify the operator no later than the day before, but otherwise without delay, of the expected date, the extent and the duration of the assumption of technical control, provided that it is predictable that the measure will be taken (§ 14 par. 2 EEG 2017).
    • After the control measures, the grid operator shall inform the plant operator about the actual dates, the respective extent, the duration and the reasons for the assumption of technical control and, upon request, provide evidence that the measure was necessary (§ 14 par. 3 sentence 1 EEG 2017). The grid operator may inform the operators of solar energy plants with a capacity of no more than 100 kW only once a year about all control measures as long as the total duration of these measures did not exceed 15 hours per plant (§ 14 par. 3 sentence 3 EEG 2017). Plant operators that were not able to feed in electricity to the extent agreed upon are entitled to compensation from the grid operator (§ 15 par. 1 EEG 2017). They may demand 95% of the lost tariffs and revenues less the expenses saved (e.g. fuel costs) (§ 15 par. 1 sentence 1 EEG 2017). If, in one year, a plant operator’s lost income exceeds 1% of his income for that year, he shall receive compensation for 100% of his lost income from that date. In the event that the grid operator violates his obligations regarding feed-in management, plant operators may demand compensation for the damage incurred (§ 15 par. 1 EEG 2017).
  • Agreement. The obligation to purchase and transmit renewable energy as a priority may be limited by a voluntary contractual agreement. Such an agreement may only be concluded if a plant can thus be better integrated into the grid network (§ 11 par. 3 EEG 2017). This would, for example, apply if the plant operator and the grid operator agreed to reduce the plant operator’s electricity exports on a few days per year and could thus avoid a grid expansion.
  • Grid safety. After all, the principle of priority shall not apply if the safety and functionality of the grid can no longer be guaranteed, e.g. if the grid is on the brink of collapse (§§ 13 par. 2, par. 2a, 14 par. 1 EnWG).

Distribution of costs

Grid operator

The costs arising from the purchase and transmission of electricity generated from renewable energy sources are borne by the grid operator.

Distribution mechanism

The grid operator shall not claim grid use charges for the purchase and transmission of electricity from the operators of renewable energy plants. According to the EEG, the grid operator is the buyer of electricity, as he does not only import electricity from the operators of renewable energy plants, but also pays for it. For this reason, the grid operator has sole responsibility for the effects of this electricity on his grid as soon as he agrees to import it.


Further information

Basic information on legal sources