We study the equilibrium energies of two-dimensional (2D) noncoarsening fluid foams, which consist of bubbles with fixed areas. The equilibrium states correspond to local minima of the total perimeter. We present a theoretical derivation of energy minima; experiments with ferrofluid foams, which can be either highly distorted, locally relaxed, or globally annealed; and Monte Carlo simulations using the extended large-Q Potts model. For a dry foam with small size variance we develop physical insight and an electrostatic analogy, which enables us to (i) find an approximate value of the global minimum perimeter, accounting for (small) area disorder, the topological distribution, and physical boundary conditions; (ii) conjecture the corresponding pattern and topology: small bubbles sort inward and large bubbles sort outward, topological charges of the same signs "repel" while charges of the opposite signs "attract;" (iii) define local and global markers to determine ! directly from an image how far a foam is from its ground state; (iv) conjecture that, in a local perimeter minimum at prescribed topology, the pressure distribution and thus the edge curvature are unique. Some results also apply to 3D foams.