As part of our report regarding air conditioning in the athletes’ village first being cut, then being reinstated by Rio 2016 organizers, we also pointed to a looming issue regarding the provider of overall electricity at the Olympic Games.
Included in our report from December 3rd was the fact that Rio organizers have yet to sign a contract with a private energy supplier, leaving the use of temporary generators as the contingency plan. However, the electricity company Aggreko, who would have also provided the aforementioned generators, has reportedly pulled out of the contract bidding.
The role of electricity supplier is, as one would expect, a vital part of a successful Olympic Games. Contracts typically include the guarantee of a stable and secure energy supply for the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as the myriad of broadcasting support needed.
Rio 2016 spokesman Mario Andrada told Reuters that he is “confident in the abilities of the companies still in contention” for the job, although Aggreko was indeed the power supplier for both the 2008 Games in Beijing and the 2012 Games in London, as well as the 2014 Commonwealth Games in its home base city of Glasgow, Scotland.
Why did Aggreko pull out of the power provider candidacy? No one is 100% sure, although industry experts suggest that they had “tired of 2-year-old negotiations, as well as constant changes in both the scope of the Olympic Games tender and who would be paying – the government or the organizing committee.” Ironically, industry experts also say that whoever ends up winning the electricity bid would have to turn back to Aggreko and actually lease generators from them.
Obviously this issue doesn’t bode well for an Olympic Games already under fire for pollution concerns and overall budget issues. For perspective, London 2012’s electricity partner was determined 20 months before that edition of the Games began, but here we are just 8 months out from Rio and the bidding process is still underway.