Mandatory three-day weekend for public servants in Venezuela

Categories: environment
Tags: energy

What? Already dealing with an economic crisis, the government of Venezuela has imposed a mandatory three-day weekend for public sector employees from April to May 2016 (not including those in the food industry). The objective is to reduce demand for electricity. The President is also asking factories to cut energy consumption by a fifth and hotels to run generators instead of using power from the grid. Suffering heavily from the worst drought episode in 47 years created by El Nino, Venezuela’s power grid, which is relying on hydropower, is under pressure. The reservoir of the Guri Dam, which is providing 75% of the power used in Caracas and 40% of the nation's electricity demand, is at a critical low level. A worsening of the situation could force the public authorities to shut down the installation to avoid damage to the turbines.

So what? Drought situations caused by climate change over the coming years could disrupt national power grids relying on hydroelectricity. This could force many governments to invest in alternative power generation, including renewables and thermal power. On the other hand, droughts could bring many private companies to invest in their own power system and avoid being exposed to central grid risks during natural disaster events.

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