The Office of Energy Policy and New Uses (OEPNU) was established in 1999 as a subagency under the Department of Agriculture. The primary role of the OEPNU is to assist the Secretary of Agriculture in developing and coordinating Departmental energy policy, programs, and strategies.
OEPNU is responsible for conducting research on the feasibility and economic and market potential of new uses for agricultural products. Current research has been focused on the development of biodiesel fuels, ethanol fuels, and other sources of biomass energy.
Since 2009, an important area of analysis by OEPNU has been the integration of renewable energy (wind, solar, geothermal) and agriculture. OEPNU in cooperation with the Rural Utilities Service also tracks the potential effects of deregulation of electric utilities on rural communities.