About the Project
Geospatial Energy Mapper (GEM) is a redesigned, reengineered, and rebranded system based on the core data and capabilities of the Energy Zones Mapping Tool (EZMT). After the EZMT's public launch in 2013 its data content, capabilities, user interface, system architecture, and geographic scope advanced, national priorities progressed, and EZMT users provided helpful recommendations for improvements. We expect that process to continue with GEM and welcome feedback from the user community and interested stakeholders to help identify opportunities and priorities for improvements.
The EISPC Energy Zones Study
The original funding leading to the EZMT was provided by the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE) under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The Eastern Interconnection States' Planning Council (EISPC) was one of the funded grid-focused planning groups, with three national laboratories assigned to provide technical assistance: Argonne National Laboratory (Argonne), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The EISPC requested the laboratories to compile energy resource data and develop a publicly available tool that would enable EISPC members and other stakeholders to identify areas within the Eastern Interconnection that are suitable for the development of clean (low- or no-carbon) power generation. The energy resource scope included biomass, coal, geothermal, natural gas, nuclear, solar, storage, water, and wind. Modeling and reporting capabilities were added for nearly every current and near-future low- or no-carbon power generation technology using those resources.
The Energy Zones Study final report, Energy Zones Study - A Comprehensive Web-Based Mapping Tool to Identify and Analyze Clean Energy Zones in the Eastern Interconnection provides further information about the EISPC Energy Zones Mapping Tool as it was originally envisioned and implemented.
The national laboratories developing the EZMT also worked closely with the Clean Energy States Alliance, Navigant Consulting, and numerous environmental and non-governmental organizations, including The Conservation Fund, NatureServe, National Audubon Society, The Wilderness Society, and many others.
Continued Progress and National Scope
After the EISPC Energy Zones Study was completed in September 2013, the Department of Energy continued funding Argonne to host the Energy Zones Mapping Tool, including many additions and enhancements, such as:
- Hosting activities, such as keeping the data content up to date, system administration, outreach, and user support,
- Adding modeling to generate potential corridor routes,
- Increasing energy/water data and capabilities, including partnering with Sandia National Laboratories,
- Extending the Mapping Library and reporting capabilities to the full U.S. extent,
- Extending the Modeling Library and models from the Eastern Interconnection to the full contiguous U.S. states,
- Adding wildfire-related data,
- Partnering with projects funded by the Department of Energy, Vehicle Technologies Office to add electric vehicle and equity data and capabilities, and
- Redesigning, reengineering, and rebranding the system as GEM