By the Potencia correspondent

As soon as Brazil was chosen to host the 2014 World Cup, this South American country became one of the most interesting destinations for foreign investment. This is especially true for those who invest in electricity infrastructure, since an event on the scale of the World Cup requires plenty of investment to ensure there is sufficient power generation capacity, as well as transmission lines, to guarantee power supplies.

Furthermore, with the Olympic Games being held there two years later Brazil’s position as an energy investment destination is strengthened.

With just a little over a month before the first whistle is blown on one of the world’s major sporting events, it is a good time to analyse the energy investments made, particularly from foreign companies involved in providing clean energy solutions.

It is perhaps unsurprising that the 2014 World Cup is being heralded as the ‘greenest’ one to date, considering Brazil’s excellent opportunities to produce electricity from renewable energy sources, and in recent years the South American country has brought on-stream several key hydro, wind, solar and biomass projects that will all help ensure this year’s global football championship is eco-friendly.

China Daily USA, for example, highlights Yingli Solar’s involvement. Described as the largest global manufacturer of solar panels, it is the only Chinese company amongst the sponsors of the World Cup. Yingli, which established a base in Sao Paulo in 2011, sees its involvement in the 2014 World Cup as a great platform from which to tap into the solar markets in the wider Latin American region, where investment from China is on the rise.

In addition to being a sponsor, Yingli also supplied 1 MW of solar panels to Neoenergia Group, a leading domestic energy firm, for installation at the Arena Pernambuco stadium, which will host five matches in the championship.

This project is seen as important because it is anticipated to generate in excess of 1500 MWh of clean electricity annually, which is equivalent to the yearly electricity consumption of about 6000 Brazilians.

Yingli also sees the wider Brazilian renewable energy market as a key one. Last year, it established a partnership with Renova Energia, a leading renewables developer, clearly recognizing the importance of alliances with local companies in the market.

Another example of how renewable energy is at the heart of this year’s World Cup competition is the Mane Garrincha National Stadium, which became the world’s first sports arena to obtain a LEED Platinum sustainability certificate for energy efficiency.

The stadium is set to house the country’s largest solar energy installation, producing enough electricity to supply 1000 homes. Furthermore, the stadium utilizes LED lightening and light sensors to achieve high energy savings.

However, it is not only Chinese companies that are benefiting from the World Cup coming to Brazil, Germany’s Siemens was involved in a project at the 70,000 capacity Mane Garrincha– named after one of the country’s best football players.

Siemens provided equipment, products and high-tech building automation systems for the stadium, which reduces its waste by controlling its water and energy consumption.

The Mane Garrincha stadium will host seven World Cup games.

However, concerns remain about the country’s ability to ensure a secure electricity supply during the World Cup, when essentially the world arrives in Brazil. Although this South American nation is focused on non-conventional renewable energy development, the majority of its electricity is still produced by hydroelectric power stations. In recent months, Brazil has suffered periods of severe drought and it is feared that its hydropower fleet may not be able to cope with the expected surge in power demand once the World Cup starts.

In response, the government has been purchasing liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a backup to address any potential supply problems.

According to Chilean newspaper La Tercera, to avoid any potential blackouts part state-owned Petrobras is purchasing large quantities of LNG so its gas-fired power plants can operate at full load, and ultimately ensure it is only the football matches hitting the headlines at World Cup 2014.

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