In order to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement of 2015, the European Commission has set the long-term goal that EU Member States should be climate neutral by 2050. The energy sector must be transformed to keep the temperature rise well below 2°C. Renewable energy supply, combined with energy efficiency and the electrification of heat and transport, is seen as the key to reducing energy-related CO2 emissions by over 90 per cent compared to 1990. Part of the strategy implemented by the German Federal Government for tackling climate change is to further decentralize the electricity distribution system by 2050. This is reshaping the role of Distribution System Operators (DSOs). Philip Emmerich reports how smart grid technologies are disrupting the energy sector and challenging the business of DSOs in Germany.