Common Tragedies

Thoughts on Environmental Economics

Could South Africa’s electricity woes threaten the 2010 World Cup?

Posted by Rich Sweeney on February 11, 2008

Last week’s Economist has an article about South Africa’s severely stressed electricity market. Despite having some of the world’s largest coal resources, severe planning errors on the part of publicly owned utilities have turned surplus into shortage. The government is now warning that “occasional blackouts, euphemistically known as “load shedding”, will be a fact of life for at least another five years.” In addition to the substantial threat this poses to South Africa’s business-as-usual economy, I’m particularly concerned that electricity shortages could hinder the World Cup, which South Africa will host in 2010. This will be the first time that an African nation has hosted the tournament, and many have openly expressed doubt about the nation’s ability to handle the security and logistics involved with hosting such a massive event. If SA’s electricity grid is stressed now, imagine what will happen when millions of people from around the world descend on the country for a month of partying.

I still plan on going, but I’ll probably bring a suitcase full of batteries.

4 Responses to “Could South Africa’s electricity woes threaten the 2010 World Cup?”

  1. I am a South African, living in Cape Town. Although I do share some concerns a few observation need to be placed in context:(i) The World Cup is expected to bring an additional 250 000-500 000 visitors to South Africa. In a normal year we do receive around 8 million tourists. We are talking a lot of additional people, but not a massive lot of additional people. (ii) Within the two years left before the World Cup South Africans will be getting a whole lot smarter in using energy efficiently. There are some very low hanging fruits given a few decades of cheap electricity.(iii)Crises brings focus: the political will, finance and brightest minds in this country are all working on supply and transmission solutions to long neglected sector. It will cost more, yes.

    Despite what the minister says – my bet is that you do not have to go to bed early.

  2. […] in five years. Five years is how long South Africa will struggle with power outageslong enough to derail the 2010 soccer World Cup perhaps, worries Common Tragedies. Permalink | Trackback URL: […]

  3. Chris said

    This article explains eskoms plans to deal with the 2010 World Cup load http://www.shine2010.co.za/goodnews.php?article_id=84

  4. […] And speaking of 2010: Could South Africa’s electricity woes threaten the World Cup? Well, what do you think? […]

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