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Best of the Blogs, Energy: London Olympics Go Green With the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012

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Plus, the first-ever full-scale test of emergency well containment drill deemed a success

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This column highlights the most interesting and useful business and financial commentary on energy from around the Web every Tuesday.

National Geographic: The Great Energy Challenge
Link: Velodrome: Chipping Energy Use

"Curved and cedar-clad, the Velodrome could be the star sustainability attraction of the 2012 London Olympic Games. Not only was the lovely $147 million structure built on schedule and on budget, but it is the most energy-efficient venue in Olympic Park.

"That's important because while the athletes converging on England's capital this fortnight go for gold, organizers had green in mind when they planned out how to power these games. From the start, when Britain made its successful bid in 2005 to host this year's games, it placed environmental sustainability at the core of its campaign. It even agreed to allow an outside organization, the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012 ('CSL'), to monitor its efforts.

"'Overall, this has been a great success,' the CSL concluded in its final report in June. But the most important measure, the commission said, will be how much London 2012 influences sustainable practices beyond the games."

Fuel Fix
Link: Feds Deem Emergency Well Containment Drill a Success

"The first-ever full-scale test of how the oil industry and federal regulators would respond to a runaway offshore well completed Monday in the Gulf of Mexico, with government officials deeming the week-long drill a success.

"The exercise, which began July 24, tested the Marine Well Containment Company's equipment for capping blown-out underwater wells and containing the hydrocarbons gushing from them. The exercise represented the first time the equipment and personnel responsible for deploying it have been put through a real-life emergency scenario with regulators looking on.

"The Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010 revealed the oil industry was unprepared to contain an underwater gusher. It took 87 days to stop oil from flowing from BP's (BP) failed Macondo well, after initial attempts at capping the well did not work. The MWCC containment system is modeled after the equipment that finally did work to staunch the Macondo well flow.

"The exercise responded to a major complaint from environmentalists and offshore drilling foes, who said new containment equipment developed since the 2010 spill had never been put through its paces in real-life emergency conditions. Previously, drills largely have been limited to 'tabletop tests,' where officials on land walk through what would happen in response to a potential disaster."

The Wall Street Journal
Link: Massive Power Outage Paralyzes North India
"Northern India's worst power failure in 10 years created chaos Monday, leaving hundreds of millions of people without power for several hours, disrupting transport and businesses, and highlighting India's woeful efforts to boost its power infrastructure.

"Eight states, with a total population of around 369 million people-equal to that of the US and the UK combined-were hit by the power outage, which was caused by a failure of the northern grid-the network supplying electricity-early Monday morning. By Monday evening power had been restored to affected areas, officials said.

"At Delhi's international airport, the country's busiest, diesel generators were used for more than 10 hours to handle the arrival and departure of flights until normal power supply was resumed.

"'Initially, at 6 a.m., when we take out our trains, we couldn't do it due to a lack of power,' said DMRC (DMRC) chief spokesman Anuj Dayal. 'From 7 a.m. until 8.30 a.m., we operated with 25% capacity as there was less power and finally, from 9 a.m., we started normal operations.'"

Autoblog Green
Link: US Senate Brings Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Caucus Back to Life

"Need any more proof that hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are getting another shot in the arm in the US? Take a look at the fall and rise of the Senate Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Caucus.

"Yes, after years of a decidedly anti-hydrogen DOE, the federal government is giving H2 some more attention, and Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chris Coons (D-DE), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and John Hoeven (R-ND) decided to get the band back together, re-launching the Caucus during a luncheon in Washington, DC recently."

Live Science
Link: Drought Grips US (Infographic)

"More than half of the continental United States this summer is experiencing moderate to extreme drought, according to reports released by the National Weather Service.

As of mid-July, the government has declared one-third of the nation's counties federal disaster areas as a result of the drought. And there's no relief in sight. The drought is expected to persist and even intensify in some areas, as temperatures are likely to remain above normal."
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