Brazil’s national grid operator ONS has been preparing its infrastructure to cope with the challenges associated with power fluctuations expected as a result of this month’s World Cup football tournament in Russia.

Such is the immense popularity of the tournament in the country that the grid experiences extremes of electricity use, when the national team plays.
Russia World Cup
Reuters reports that power demand falls sharply close to the start of the games, then surges during halftime breaks as people take in refreshments. As play resumes, power demand falls sharply again.

“Such events cause system behaviour that is totally different from normal days,” said Álvaro Fleury Veloso da Silveira, IT director at national grid operator ONS. “But we are used to it,” he said.

Brazilians abandon their daily routines on World Cup game days for the national team. Schools change class times or cancel them altogether. Companies let employees go home early or set up televisions, so people can watch in the workplace.

To guarantee sufficient electricity for sudden surges in demand, Silveira says more power plants than normal are put on alert, prepared to boost production if necessary.

Brazil’s World Cup power issue is also replicated in other large footballing nations such as the UK and Germany, where similar preparations take place.

In Brazil, the swings in demand can reach up to 11,000 MW, for instance when a game finishes in the evening and people go back to their routines at the same time public lighting is turned on.