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Thursday, 03 September 2015 18:00

$6M for grant opportunity announced for American clean energy projects

The U.S. Department of Energy issued a report showing that threats to tribal energy infrastructure are expected to increase as climate change impacts extreme weather conditions. The department 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, Caspian Energy News (www.caspianenergy.net) reports with reference to the statement of the U.S. Department of Energy.

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.

“Tribes are among the U.S. communities most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change,” said Chris Deschene, Director of DOE’s Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs that issued the Climate Change Vulnerabilities Report. “Tribal lands, which are home to more than one million people, have a relatively high proportion of low-income residents, and tribes have limited resources to respond to climate-related impacts. To address these challenges proactively, tribal leaders have a need for reliable data and analysis that will allow them to make informed decisions as they work to develop viable strategies to ensure a secure and sustainable energy future for their communities.”

The Tribal Energy Systems Vulnerabilities Report was developed in response to President Obama’s Climate Action Plan outlining executive actions to prepare for the impacts of climate change, Executive Order 13653 directing federal agencies to help communities strengthen their resilience to extreme weather and prepare for climate change, and State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resiliency recommendations for supporting communities’ climate preparedness and resiliency efforts. It is intended to serve as an authoritative resource to assist tribal leaders, federal, state, and local governments, regulators and utility commissions, and energy asset owners and operators to strengthen tribal energy systems. 

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