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This paper outlines new approaches in the fields of grid protection and optimization of distribution grid operation. The optimization aims to reduce grid losses by setting an optimal power factor at distributed energy resources at lower voltage levels. A Nonlinear programming approach is described modeling the optimization problem and causing high requirements on the mathematical formulation. Due to providing ancillary services by DER the grid protection has to be considered. Distributed generation causes changes in the direction and magnitude of short-circuit current and due to these misinterpretations of measurements at protection devices. An approach for adapting the protection parameters to the state of distributed in-feed is presented. Additionally an outlook on further developments on grid optimization and grid protection is given.