Paul Denholm is a member of the Grid Systems Group in the Grid Planning and Analysis Center.

Paul 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

Paul Denholm, Josh Eichman, and Robert Margolis. 2017. Evaluating the Technical and Economic Performance of PV Plus Storage Power Plants. Golden, Colorado: National Renewable Energy Laboratory. NREL/TP-6A20-68737.

Paul Denholm and Robert Margolis. 2016. Energy Storage Requirements for Achieving 50% Solar Photovoltaic Energy Penetration in California. Golden, Colorado: National Renewable Energy Laboratory. NREL/TP-6A20-66595.

Paul Denholm, Matthew O'Connell, Gregory Brinkman, and Jennie Jorgenson. 2015. Overgeneration from Solar Energy in California: A Field Guide to the Duck Chart. Golden, Colorado: National Renewable Energy Laboratory. NREL/TP-6A20-65023.

Denholm, P., M. Kuss, and R.M. Margolis. Co-Benefits of Large Scale Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle and Solar PV Deployment. Journal of Power Sources 236 (August 2013): 350-56. NREL/JA-6A20-54247. doi:10.1016/j.jpowsour.2012.10.007.

Sioshansi, R., P. Denholm, and T. Jenkin. Market and Policy Barriers to Deployment of Energy Storage. Economics of Energy and Environmental Policy 1, no. 2 (March 2012): 47-63. NREL/JA-6A20-53820. doi:10.5547/2160-5890.1.2.4.

Denholm, P., and M. Hand. Grid Flexibility and Storage Required to Achieve Very High Penetration of Variable Renewable Electricity. Energy Policy 39, no. 3 (March 2011): 1817-30. NREL/JA-6A20-49400.

Full list of Paul Denholm publications (NREL).