Berlin’s electricity distribution grid: An urban energy transition in a national regulatory context

Nora Rocholl, Ronan Bolton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Germany has set ambitious targets to transform its energy system from being based on fossil fuels and nuclear to renewable energies, requiring electricity grids to be upgraded. As a result there is significant public pressure in some German cities to exert greater local control over electricity distribution infrastructure. A case study approach was used to investigate contestations around ownership and governance of Berlin’s electricity distribution grid. Actors at the local level perceive the national institutional framework supporting liberalised energy markets as not designed to adapt electricity distribution grids to the challenges of the Energiewende (energy turn) and to be instead hampering investment, innovation and the involvement of local actors. By analysing politics of grid ownership and governance, and emerging tensions between a national regulatory framework and more locally bounded energy system visions, our study contributes to the emerging academic debate on urban energy transitions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1182-1194
Number of pages13
JournalTechnology Analysis and Strategic Management
Issue number10
Early online date11 May 2016
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016


  • socio-technical systems
  • energy transitions
  • electricity regulation
  • remunicipalisation
  • Berlin


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