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Engineering LibreTexts

17.2: Investigation

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  • Activity A – Investigating energy infrastructure and impact

    Begin this activity by accessing the infographic The Energy Sector’s Vulnerabilities to Climatic Conditions <>. This graphic (Figure 17.2.1) appears on a US Department of Energy web page having the same title.

    Screenshot 2020-07-10 at 09.24.09.png
    Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\): The default appearance of for the infographic described above.

    Each of the icons represents a particular element in the national energy grid that has been affected by extreme weather events or changes in sea level. The list of climatic conditions in the upper left is a control panel enabling you to filter elements by the climatic conditions that have impacted them.

    US Infrastructure and Climate - Questions

    1. What are the principle types of energy infrastructure shown on the map? List and describe the types shown.
    2. What climate impacts are shown on the map? To answer this click on the three climate impacts in the upper-left panel to see which energy infrastructure facilities are affected by each. To record this use an entire sheet of paper to make a table that will summarize the climate change impact on each infrastructure type.
    3. How does each impact affect each type of infrastructure? To answer this, click on each climate change condition, read through the bubbles for each infrastructure type, and summarize how the climatic conditions impact each infrastructure type.

    Activity B – Filling in the gaps

    The infographic used in these activities only shows impacted infrastructure in the continental United States. Alaska has not been included. However, it too contains energy infrastructure that is vulnerable to changing climate conditions. Answer the following questions, given the energy flow chart showing energy production and consumption in Alaska (Figure 17.2.2) and what you concluded in activity A.

    Alaska Infrastructure and Climate - Questions

    1. Based on Figure 17.2.2 what types of energy infrastructure would you expect to find in Alaska?
    2. What parts of Alaska would be affected by each of the climatic conditions listed in the control panel on the map? You may wish to consult the fourth National Climate Assessment chapter on Alaska: <>
    3. How would the infrastructure you listed in question 3 of this activity be impacted by conditions you listed in question 2?
    Screenshot 2020-07-10 at 09.28.35.png
    Figure \(\PageIndex{2}\): Energy consumption and production flowchart for Alaska (2014).

    The resources used to provide energy are shown on the left side of the graph. Note energy export is not clearly shown in the flowchart and Alaska is a major fossil fuel exporter.

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