GLRPPR: Sector Resources: Documents: Tribal Energy System Vulnerabilities to Climate Change and Extreme Weather
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GLRPPR Sector Resource: Tribal Energy System Vulnerabilities to Climate Change and Extreme Weather

Tribal Energy System Vulnerabilities to Climate Change and Extreme Weather

Climate change and extreme weather events are already affecting the way that American Indian and Alaska Native tribes are using, receiving, and producing energy. As climate change worsens, energy nfrastructure in the United States -- including tribal energy infrastructure -- is expected to be increasingly threatened by higher temperatures, less available water, and more frequent and intense heavy downpours, floods, heat waves, and droughts. Tribal energy systems are also vulnerable to extreme weather events, such as thunderstorms, tornadoes, and winter storms, which can severely damage infrastructure that tribes rely on to deliver power and fuel.

Like most communities, tribes have a major interest in reliable energy supply even though they are not, for the most part, directly responsible for providing it. Few tribes own and operate the energy infrastructure that their residents depend on; tribal energy systems are primarily vulnerable to events occurring offsite, such as supply disruptions and higher energy costs passed down from external utility providers. Energy infrastructure owned and operated by tribes is subject to vulnerabilities similar to those of energy assets located outside of tribal boundaries, although tribal entities have greater self-determination in building the resilience of energy systems that they control.This report provides an informational resource to assist tribes with understanding their risks, a critical step towards effective planning and management of energy systems in the face of climate change and extreme weather threats.


U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Indian Energy

Resource Type:

Date of Publication:
September 2015

Associated Sectors:


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