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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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  • https://www.linkedin.com/pub/rob-kabera/4/b26/ab5 rob k.

    It is utterly ridiculous that an African nation having reliable electricity is labelled “impossible”. Could you be any more patronizing? (signed – Stanford University Energy Resources Engineer & WSU PhD in Power Systems Engineering).

    • Emily Neimanis

      Hi Rob, I appreciate your comment, but there is nowhere in this article that says “impossible.” I just got back from a trip to Ghana, and I personally experienced the unreliable electricity. Never once in this article do I say the unpredictable grid is due to the Ghanaian people. In fact, I clearly state it’s due to low water levels, something that is out of their control. If you find that patronizing, then you and I have varying opinions about what patronizing means.

  • Jennifer W

    “this year, low water levels have caused a considerable power shortage, consistently plaguing the nation with power outages.”
    Ghana is powered primarily by hydro, so it makes sense that low water would affect power supply. That’s logic 101 (also – awesome for Ghana having a primarily hydro power grid).
    I assume if coal were to all of a sudden run scarce the United States would have some issues as well.
    Nowhere does it reflect negatively on the country, region, or people. In fact, the trouble the Ghanian utilities took to ensure power would be available for everyone to tune into the game is admirable. It’s a positive thing; the nation is excited and unified around the world cup!
    Yes, Ghana’s government will have to make energy upgrades, but that’s not patronizing. Doesn’t the US have some energy upgrades to make? Like, A LOT of them.
    (Signed, Columbia)