The 2016 Summer Olympics to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil might be held in the dark, as temporary power supplier Aggreko has backed out of a pending agreement to provide generators to the city next year. Olympics officials are now scrambling to find a new electricity provider for the major global sporting event, which is just months away. The setback is the latest problem to concern the International Olympics Committee (IOC) and the city of Rio de Janeiro, which might not be ready to host a sporting event of this magnitude.
Securing a temporary power contract is a vital part of Olympic preparations, as it is critical that a stable and reliable energy supply be provided to international broadcasters. Additionally, the legendary opening and closing ceremonies are highly dependent upon electricity, and back-up generators are also needed. Having the lights go out entirely in the middle of a tremendous gathering of people from across the world would certainly lead to complete and utter chaos.
With Aggreko backing out of such a crucial contract, the IOC has to be extremely worried. The IOC has been under heavy pressure to cut its spending for the Olympic Games, which come as Brazil is stuck in its single worst economic depression in at least 25 years. The Brazilian government has already stated that it does not have the money to cover any costs that exceed expectations. This is clearly not a good sign for a special event that is supposed to be one of the most extravagant in the world.
Aggreko has a large amount of experience providing electricity to major events. The company has been involved in nine other Olympic Games and six FIFA World Cups. Most recently, the group supplied power to the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, as well as the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. The fact that Aggreko wants nothing to do with the current Olympic Games fiasco is extremely concerning. Aggreko has declined to comment on the situation.
The one positive is that there are other companies still competing for the right to provide power for the 2016 Olympic Games. However, Aggreko, with its proven reliability and strong experience, was far and away the leader and would have very likely been the first choice of organizers. The organizers for Rio 2016 are set to make a decision on an electricity provider on Tuesday. From there, that company will be passed on to the IOC board for approval.
That being said, it is believed that none of the other competing companies have the in-country capacity or the Olympic experience to fully meet the rigorous demands of the contract. Ironically, the company that does end up receiving the contract might have to ultimately lease generators from none other than Aggreko.
The Rio 2016 organizers are throwing together deals at the last minute. For the 2012 Summer Games in London, the power contract winner was announced 20 months before the start of the games. The 2016 Games in Rio, which will take place from August 5 through the 21, are just eight months away.