Argonne National Laboratory’s Energy Systems (ES) and Environmental Science (EVS) Divisions are leading an effort of three DOE National Laboratories to develop and maintain the Energy Zones Mapping Tool (EZMT). The tool was developed for the Eastern Interconnection States’ Planning Council (EISPC) to provide EISPC members and stakeholders with the web-based decision support system with capabilities to identify and map areas with high suitability for clean power generation. The multi-laboratory effort is led by Argonne, in collaboration with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). The project was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE).
The Energy Zones Mapping Tool (EZMT) utilizes more than 260 GIS data layers that can be processed using various user-specified screening factors and criteria to identify areas conducive for clean energy resource development. The tool allows users to analyze energy resource availability data and apply various screening factors and criteria to develop customized maps depicting the suitability of different areas within the Eastern Interconnection for clean power generation. The EZMT database contains more than 100 environmental data layers to ensure that protected lands, imperiled species, and other environmental factors are taken into account when determining the suitability of certain areas for clean energy resource development. Model results include customized maps that show areas that fit user-specified screening factors and criteria with different suitability levels. These suitability levels for clean energy resource development are illustrated in the maps using color-coded gradation. The EZMT capabilities also include the analysis of potential corridor paths and optimization routines that can assist users in the screening and analysis of potential future energy corridors. In addition, the EZMT includes a searchable database with over 2,400 energy-related polices and regulations.