Paul Denholm is a member of the Transmission Group in the Grid Planning and Analysis Center and is a leading researcher in grid applications for energy storage and solar energy. He pioneered a variety of research methods for understanding the technical, economic, and environmental benefits and impacts of the large scale deployment of renewable electricity generation. He has delivered over 100 invited presentations to agencies including the National Science Foundation, the World Bank, and the International Energy Agency. He has co-authored over 100 articles related to renewable energy integration. While his official title is "Principal Analyst" he is still an engineer at heart and in his free time he likes to build contraptions of dubious functionality like a concentrating solar marshmallow cooker.

Areas of Expertise

Modeling of electric power systems, including interaction of renewable and conventional energy technologies
Analysis of energy storage including thermal energy storage

Research Interests

Effects of large-scale renewable energy deployment in electric power systems
The role of grid flexibility in integrating renewable energy including energy storage, demand response and efficient market design


B.S. in Physics, 1993, James Madison University
M.S. in Instrumentation Physics, 1995, University of Utah
Ph.D. in Land Resources/Energy Analysis and Policy, 2004, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Prior Work Experience

Electrical engineer, Bardac Drives Corporation (19951999)

Featured Publications

Exploring the Design Space of PV-Plus-Battery System Configurations Under Evolving Grid Conditions, Applied Energy (2022)

Storage Futures Study: Key Learnings for the Coming Decades, NREL Technical Report (2022)

Quantifying the Challenge of Reaching a 100% Renewable Energy Power System for the United States, Joule (2021)

The Challenges of Achieving a 100% Renewable Electricity System in the United States, Joule (2021)

The Curtailment Paradox in the Transition to High Solar Power Systems, Joule (2021)

The Los Angeles 100% Renewable Energy Study, NREL Technical Report (2021)

The Four Phases of Storage Deployment: A Framework for the Expanding Role of Storage in the U.S. Power System, NREL Technical Report (2021)

Inertia and the Power Grid: A Guide Without the Spin, NREL Technical Report (2021)

The Potential for Battery Energy Storage to Provide Peaking Capacity in the United States, Renewable Energy (2020)

View all NREL publications for Paul Denholm