John Barnett

Research Activity per Year


Personal Profile

John Barnett directs NREL's Energy Security and Resilience (ESR) Center, coordinating the lab's research efforts to protect energy services against disruption and to quickly recover services in case of a natural or human-caused disturbance. The ESR Center houses NREL's Secure Cyber-Energy Systems group, which focuses on intrinsic approaches to cybersecurity for a quickly evolving electric grid. Also within the ESR Center, the Resilient Systems Design and Engineering group works to improve our fundamental understanding of resilient energy system design in order to inform mitigation investments and resilient operational approaches that minimize the impact of network disruptions. ESR Center staff bring to bear NREL's expertise in diverse energy technologies, system configurations, operational strategies, and business models.

Prior to NREL, Barnett served for 10 years at the Institute for Defense Analyses where he focused on national security applications of space and information systems. He also worked a few years at Rocky Mountain Institute, leading a program focused on the connections between natural resource utilization and international security. After joining NREL in 2007, Barnett supported DOE's Federal Energy Management Program, NREL's net zero energy installations work, and NREL assessments of energy provision and use in remote locations—including at a National Science Foundation research station at the peak of the Greenland icecap. He managed NREL's support to Millennium Challenge Corporation's Compact with Indonesia, for which the NREL team produced a series of techno-economic studies of model projects involving grid-tied and off-grid implementations of renewable energy, used for a subsequent solicitation. He also managed several projects related to ongoing power sector evolutions in China, including NREL's work with China National Renewable Energy Centre and China State Grid Corporation's Energy Research Institute involving adaptations of planning methodologies and market design elements supporting reliable, flexible, and economic power systems. 

Research Interests

Technologies and operational strategies for the protection of energy services against disruption, especially from cyberattacks and extreme weather events

Design principles, evaluation techniques, and decision science to inform improved resilience of highly distributed energy systems

Dynamics of power sector transformation in diverse socio-economic systems

Education/Academic Qualification

PhD, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Princeton University

Master, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Princeton University

Bachelor, Mechanical Engineering, Rice University


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