When the United States soccer team faced off against Ghana earlier this week during the 2014 World Cup, officials in Ghana were carefully monitoring the electricity grid against any disruption caused by millions of Ghanaians tuning into the game. The country was already facing power shortages attributed to lower levels of water in hydroelectric dams and was forced to buy 50 megawatts of electricity from neighboring Ivory Coast to ensure full coverage during the games.
In addition, the country’s largest aluminum smelter will be slowing production and power plants will be running at full steam.
This is a good reminder about the problems most African nations have with producing enough electricity for their citizens. The exact reasons are numerous and unique to each nation. It’s striking though that the average Ghanaian uses less electricity per year than the average American refrigerator. And Ghana is, relative to other African nations, well-off when it comes to electricity use per capita.
Americans have a lot to be thankful for.
Ghana has at least two more games to play in this year’s World Cup with their next match on Saturday versus Germany.
Want to read more about electricity in the developing world? Check out these posts on MNN:
- Quetsol: Working to bring clean solar power to Guatemala’s rural poor
- In rural India, solar power is the cheap and easy solution
- Ghana-based renewable energy startup acquired in an estimated 7-figure deal