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Will The Lights Stay On In Sochi?

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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With the world focused on Sochi now that the Winter Olympic Games have begun, will the power stay on?

Russia has engaged in 49 major energy projects since it won the bid to host the Olympics back in 2007. As National Geographic explains, these should boost Sochi’s capacity to generate electricity by 800 percent.

Among the new projects built for the games are a 106-mile (172-kilometer) natural gas pipeline beneath the Black Sea that feeds fuel to the new Adler thermal power plant in Sochi, which is expected to supply one-third of peak energy demand during the Olympics. A second power plant built northwest of the city is projected to provide 25 percent of the power needed to fuel the games. Reylyan said the project involved 460 new power distribution lines.

Sounds good BUT then again, there was that incident last November when the lights went out at Sliding Center Sanki… Luge athletes sped down their track at close to 90 miles per hour when the power went off. Yikes! And according to the NYTimes, sliders also reported that some hotels had no power or running water at the time and “those problems are not uncommon to the region around the track.”

But no need for alarm – There are over 120 diesel generators that will be used to keep power going in sports arenas, media centers, Olympic villages, and for emergencies throughout the games. Of course, things don’t always go off without a hitch – even here in the U.S. Remember Super Bowl XLVII?

Still, Russia has guaranteed the International Olympic Committee that they can meet peak energy demands. I certainly hope they do.

This post originally appeared at Scientific American’s ‘Plugged In

Sheril Kirshenbaum About the Author: Sheril Kirshenbaum is Director of The Energy Poll at The University of Texas at Austin where she works to enhance public understanding of energy issues and improve communication between scientists, policymakers, and the public. Follow on Twitter @Sheril_.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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  1. 1. llirbo 7:43 pm 02/7/2014

    Not super competent, are they!

    Link to this

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