Ghana Ups Power Supply So All Can Watch World Cup
The Ghanaian soccer team may not have won its game against the USA yesterday, but when it came to broadcasting it nationwide they managed a huge feat. Ghana produces a majority of its electricity via hydroelectric dams on the Volta River, but this year, low water levels have caused a considerable power shortage, consistently plaguing the nation with power outages. Wanting to ensure the entire country could support its team, Ghana went to great lengths to provide enough power so everyone could watch the big game.
The nation’s utilities regulator started rationing electricity prior to the event by commanding periodic shutdowns across the country, similar to demand response. The country also bought 50 megawatts of electricity from the Ivory Coast, a neighboring region in West Africa. In addition, power plants were run at full capacity, and the Volta Aluminum company slowed production during the game to reduce its drain on electricity. Kudjo Fianoo, member of the Ghana Football Association said, “Football is the passion of the nation. It is no wonder the government is spending extra money to get us reliable power at this very important time in our nation.”
Once the World Cup is over, the country will have to make some permanent upgrades to its electric grid. With water levels continually decreasing and rising economic growth, outages are only going to get worse. The Ghanaian government has started investing in solar and wind power, but so far they have done little to offset the lost power. There have been recent natural gas discoveries, which could help provide additional power once refineries are built.
In the meantime, the current power management for the World Cup is acting as a great source to figure out exactly where there needs to be improvements, and how to best organize electricity generation for the future, while keeping the spirits of the citizens high. Ghanaians have been frustrated with energy policy lately, due to high rates and increased outages, but working hard to guarantee nationwide power during the games will help boost confidence in the industry. Ghana lost to the USA in its first match 1-2, but will go on to play Germany and Portugal with the whole country back home able to watch.
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