Nucleoside triphosphate (NTP)s, like ATP (adenosine 5'-triphosphate) and GTP (guanosine 5'-triphosphate), have long been considered sufficiently concentrated and diffusible to fuel all cellular ATPases (adenosine triphosphatases) and GTPases (guanosine triphosphatases) in an energetically healthy cell without becoming limiting for function. However, increasing evidence for the importance of local ATP and GTP pools, synthesised in close proximity to ATP- or GTP-consuming reactions, has fundamentally challenged our view of energy metabolism. It has become evident that cellular energy metabolism occurs in many specialised 'microcompartments', where energy in the form of NTPs is transferred preferentially from NTP-generating modules directly to NTP-consuming modules. Such energy channeling occurs when diffusion through the cytosol is limited, where these modules are physically close and, in particular, if the NTP-consuming reaction has a very high turnover, i.e. is very processive. Here, we summarise the evidence for these conclusions and describe new insights into the physiological importance and molecular mechanisms of energy channeling gained from recent studies. In particular, we describe the role of glycolytic enzymes for axonal vesicle transport and nucleoside diphosphate kinases for the functions of dynamins and dynamin-related GTPases.