Tribal Lands Sustainable Energy Push to Combat Climate Change

THE U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) issued a report showing that threats to tribal energy infrastructure are expected to increase as climate change impacts extreme weather conditions.

Inline with this the DOE also announced a $6 million grant opportunity to establish clean energy projects and energy efficiency projects on Indian lands that will help support economic opportunity and combat the effects of climate change on tribal lands.

The Tribal Energy System Vulnerabilities to Climate Change report assesses how climate change and extreme weather vulnerabilities specific to tribal energy infrastructure and systems in the contiguous United States and Alaska are projected to affect energy availability to Native American lands.

Tribal lands comprise nearly two percent of U.S. land, but contain about five percent of all the country’s renewable energy resources. With more than 9 million megawatts of potential installed renewable energy capacity on tribal lands, these tribal communities are well positioned to capitalize on their energy resources for local economic growth.

“The wide ranging effects of climate change — from more intense storms, harsher droughts, sea level rise, and escalating summer temperatures — pose an increasing threat to America’s energy systems and crucial infrastructure,” said Lynn Orr, DOE’s Under Secretary for Science and Energy. “The initiatives launched today by the Department of Energy continue our work with states, local governments, and tribal governments to understand the challenges posed by climate change and support the development of resilient infrastructure and the deployment of clean energy.”

Climate-related events are already affecting the way that Indian tribes in the United States use, receive, and produce energy. Higher temperatures, water shortages, and more frequent and intense disasters — such as flooding, wildfires, heat waves, and droughts — are threatening the economic and energy security of what are among the nation’s most impoverished communities. Other increasingly severe extreme weather events, such as thunderstorms, tornadoes and winter storms, can also severely damage the infrastructure that tribes rely on to deliver power and fuel.

The $6 million Funding Opportunity Announcement will help to deploy clean energy projects and energy efficiency projects on Indian lands, reducing reliance on fossil fuel and promoting economic development.

Cost-shared projects selected under this Funding Opportunity Announcement are intended to result in immediate cost savings, reduce energy use, and increase energy security for Indian Tribes and tribal members.

Pictures form the U.S. DOE (2014a).

Monday 7th September 2015


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