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U. S. Energy Sector Vulnerabilities to Climate Change and Extreme Weather

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Since the start of the 20th century, average annual temperatures across the contiguous United States have increased approximately 1.5 F 0.8 C NOAA 2013b, EPA 2012a. Recent weather conditions are no exception to this trend. July 2012 was the hottest month in the United States since record keeping began in 1895, and 2012 was the warmest year overall, marked by historic high temperatures and droughts, above average wildfires, multiple intense storms that disrupted power to millions, and multiple extreme heat waves NOAA 2013c. More than 60 of the country experienced drought during the summer of 2012, including some areas of exceptional drought NOAA 2013c, NOAA 2012c. These trends, which are expected to continue NOAA 2013b, IPCC 2012, USGCRP 2009, could restrict the supply of secure, sustainable, and affordable energy critical to the nation s economic growth. At least three major climate trends are relevant to the energy sector Increasing air and water temperatures Decreasing water availability in some regions and seasons Increasing intensity and frequency of storm events, flooding, and sea level rise This report part of the Administration s efforts to support national climate change adaptation planning through the Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force and Strategic Sustainability Planning process established under Executive Order 13514 and to advance the U.S. Department of Energy s goal of promoting energy security examines current and potential future impacts of these climate trends on the U.S. energy sector. It identifies activities underway to address these challenges and discusses potential opportunities to enhance energy technologies that are more climate-resilient, as well as information, stakeholder engagement, and policies and strategies to further enable their deployment.

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  • Meteorology
  • Economics and Cost Analysis
  • Non-electrical Energy Conversion
  • Electric Power Production and Distribution

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