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Paul Denholm

Senior Research Fellow I-Model Engineering

Orcid ID

Paul Denholm is a member of the Transmission Group in the Grid Planning and Analysis Center and also a senior research fellow—the highest technical position at NREL—leading research 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.

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


Ph.D., Land Resources/Energy Analysis and Policy, University of Wisconsin-Madison

M.S., Instrumentation Physics, University of Utah

B.S., Physics, James Madison University

Professional Experience

Electrical Engineer, Bardac Drives Corporation (1995–1999)

Featured Work

Getting to 100%: Six Strategies for the Challenging Last 10%, Joule (2022)

Examining Supply-Side Options to Achieve 100% Clean Electricity by 2035, NREL Technical Report (2022)

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

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

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

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

The Curtailment Paradox in the Transition to High Solar Power SystemsJoule (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 (2020)

View all NREL publications for Paul Denholm.