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DOE Requests Information On Community Power Concept

Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy

Department of Energy Seeks Public Input Regarding Energysheds

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a request for information (RFI) regarding the concept of an “energyshed” and energyshed management systems. Given that the term “energyshed” is relatively new, DOE is seeking feedback on its concept and definition, as well as its application to the electric grid.

One piece of literature defines “energyshed” as “that geographical area in which all power consumed within it is supplied within it” and an “energyshed management system” to be whatever tool or process oversees the grid operations within the geographical bounds of the energyshed.

“At DOE we’re looking to accelerate the deployment of clean energy technologies to equitably transition America to a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions economy by 2050. It all starts with grid resource planning,” said Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Kelly Speakes-Backman. “DOE is interested in understanding the implications of implementing an energyshed management system and how its application built on renewable energy, energy storage, and locally derived resources could help us reach the Biden-Harris Administration goal of a more efficient and resilient power system.”

EERE seeks the following information within any of the following 6 categories:

  1. Concept and Definition: Additional or alternate energyshed definitions; benefits and drawbacks.
  2. Tools and Analyses: Tools, data, and analyses required to effectively operate and manage energysheds.
  3. Planning and Operations: Considerations regarding grid planning and potential changes or barriers to power system operations.
  4. Resilience: Opportunities and barriers to developing a more resilient power system
  5. Energy Justice, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Strategies to ensure EERE prioritizes the energy needs of underserved communities located within an energyshed.
  6. Other Information: Additional information DOE should consider on the topic of energysheds or energyshed management systems.

Energysheds are analogous to watersheds, in which communities use more locally derived water to improve efficiency and decrease their dependence on water transported from long distances. The energyshed concept encourages communities to consider where their energy comes from geographically as well as the resources used to generate it. Information provided in response to this RFI will inform DOE’s consideration of a potential funding opportunity to develop and deploy an energyshed management system.

DOE is accepting comments on this RFI through than 5:00pm (ET) on August 10, 2021. More details are available in the RFI, which can be found here.

Energysheds: Investigating Community Power Supply and Consumption through a Geographical Lens

Have you ever wondered where your electricity comes from?

You may live close to a power plant or a wind park, but that doesn’t mean your electricity comes from it. In fact, your electricity could come from as far as another state.

Through its renewable energy grid integration portfolio, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) is examining the concept of an energyshed, which has been referred to as an ““area in which all power consumed within it is supplied within it.” In contrast, a large portion of electricity​ using renewable sources is derived from other locations. EERE is looking at how locally generated renewable energy sources can offer communities energy independence, security, and resilience.

To better understand an energyshed, consider a watershed. A watershed is a defined geographical area that contains a set of water sources that drain into a common outlet, such as a large river, lake, or ocean. Consumers who draw on water resources within a watershed are affected by the flow, capture, storage, and release of water. Similar to the idea of a watershed, an energyshed looks at how power is created and consumed within a specific area.

A number of similarities between the delivery of water and electricity evolved over the last 100 years. As the need for water and electricity grew in the 20th century, water and electric utilities greatly expanded in scale, delivering resources long distances through extensive networks to large population centers. Sometimes the search for water sources and increasing demand led water utilities to search beyond their watersheds. Likewise, needing larger infrastructure footprints to meet electricity demand, electric utilities grew and sited operations where land was available, even if that meant moving further from demand centers.

Moving into the 21st century, with an interest in resiliency and utilizing resources closer to home, many communities are investigating how to reuse and capture more locally derived water to improve efficiency, decrease their dependence on water transported from long distances, and use less. An energyshed follows a similar theme, enabling understanding of an area’s energy generation – where it comes from geographically, as well as what type of resources are used and if there are opportunities to derive energy sources locally. Understanding the implications of implementing an energyshed management system may lead to a more efficient and resilient power system.

EERE is organizing a workshop on July 13 – 14, 2021, to obtain feedback on the concept of an energyshed and energyshed management system. To register for the workshop, please click here. For more information on this effort, please email:

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About Author

Michael McGreer Mesquite, Nevada
Dr. Michael Manford McGreer is managing editor of and writes on issues that impact public policy.

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