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Seminar: Toward a 100% Renewable Power Grid: Reality or Rhetoric?

Paul Denholm, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Wednesday, November 14, 2018, 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm
144 Baker Systems
1971 Neil Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210

Seminar by Paul Denholm

Principal Energy Analyst

National Renewable Energy Laboratory


There is growing interest, along with many state and local policy initiatives, for various regions to derive 100% of their electricity from renewable sources. But there are a number of economic and technical challenges associated with making this a reality. This talk will focus on three of the big challenges to increasing our use of wind and solar energy on the power grid. First, how can we maintain a cost-effective grid with large amounts of wind and solar producing energy even when it is not needed? Second, how can we ensure the grid can reliably supply electricity during hot summer afternoons when demand is highest? Third, how can we maintain a stable grid with generators that don’t provide the traditional frequency-responsive services necessary to prevent blackouts? This talk will discuss the tools that researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory—and others around the world—are using to address these challenges, and provide an overview of some of the outstanding challenges that future graduates of the Ohio State University will help solve.


Paul Denholm is a leading researcher in the field of renewable energy integration at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. A focus of his work is examining the role of energy storage and other “enabling” technologies to increase the role of wind and solar energy in the power grid. He has 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 the usual collection of degrees and has co-authored over 100 articles related to renewable energy integration.