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NETL Geo-data Helps Prioritize Energy Communities in America
Animated map that visualizes energy data and affiliated environmental, community and justice data.

Since November 2021, demand for NETL’s geo-data science expertise has grown from multiple DOE stakeholders to help map and visualize energy data and affiliated environmental, community and justice data.

With insights from custom mapping and data science analyses, NETL is helping prioritize energy communities and spotlight opportunities for economic improvement and environmental justice in a changing energy landscape.

“The release and sharing of these data and maps provide critical information for U.S. communities; allowing them to evaluate funding opportunities, tax credits, as well as opportunities for clean energy transitions,” said NETL Geo-data Scientist Jennifer Bauer. “The data and analyses underpinning different definitions of energy communities wasn’t previously accessible, so making these data and maps publicly available is a major asset to a variety of stakeholders and decision makers throughout the nation.”

Since 2021, increasing demand for energy, environmental, community, and justice data lead to a growth in energy mapping and visualization projects with NETL’s geo-data science experts. NETL has performed rapid analytics on hundreds of energy, environmental, and community-level data sets to meet these demands, resulting in publicly accessible data and interactive maps that can help drive investments in energy communities, inform community and stakeholder engagement, support economic revitalization, strengthen American supply chains, and create jobs from the new clean energy economy.

Examples of NETL’s analyses and mapping efforts include:

  • The Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization (IWG) - in efforts to help inform the distribution of investments that build on more than $14 billion from across federal agencies to the hardest-hit energy communities across the country and support the $7.4 billion in investments by private companies into energy communities, IWG has worked with NETL and other collaborators to produce several publicly accessible maps and data resources on the website. This includes the Energy Communities Tax Credit Bonus and Section 48C Tax Credits maps that can help identify areas that may be eligible for the energy community bonus, as well as the Coal Power Plant Redevelopment Visualization Tool that enable stakeholders to identify opportunities for redevelopment of shuttered coal power plants and community reinvestment.
  •  The Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Communities LEAP (Local Energy Action Program) Pilot – to facilitate sustained community-wide economic and environmental benefits, NETL worked with DOE to review authoritative, U.S.-wide data sets to help define eligibility criteria for the Pilot opportunity. With the goal to empower low-income and energy burdened communities with a historic reliance on fossil industries or communities experiencing environmental injustice to design community-based pathways to a sustainable, resilient, equitable clean energy future, NETL’s data helped inform the selection of 24 communities for the pilot opportunity. Additionally, NETL is currently working with DOE revisit and refine components of the eligibility criteria to support the next funding opportunity for LEAP.
  •  The Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM’s) Carbon Capture & Storage Environmental Justice and Social Justice (CCS-EJ-SJ) Database – to support the growing need for information and data on environmental, social, economic, and energy justice metrics to support planning and engagement for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) projects, NETL worked to integrate more than 100 authoritative, spatial data layers into an interactive, dynamic database hosted on NETL’s Energy Data eXchange® (EDX). The resulting CCS-EJ-SJ data collection and interactive map help CCS stakeholders and decision makers evaluate data, gain insights and a more comprehensive understanding of the complex interplay between environmental and social factors that can affect the success of CCS infrastructure projects and the communities they are located within and rely upon for support.

In addition to these examples, NETL continues to support energy community and related mapping efforts for the Executive Office of the President of the United States, DOE’s Offices of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management, Policy, Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, and Manufacturing and Supply Chains, as well as the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization (IWG).

NETL is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory that drives innovation and delivers technological solutions for an environmentally sustainable and prosperous energy future. By leveraging its world-class talent and research facilities, NETL is ensuring affordable, abundant and reliable energy that drives a robust economy and national security, while developing technologies to manage carbon across the full life cycle, enabling environmental sustainability for all Americans.