As China’s electricity demand is set to increase, some areas of the country could face renewed power shortages at peak demand times this summer, Chinese officials said on Wednesday.
The maximum power load could hit 1,360 gigawatts (GW) in the summer, which could lead to shortages in some regions, Liang Changxin, a spokesman for the National Energy Administration (NEA), said at a news conference today, as carried by Bloomberg.
The expected maximum power load would be higher than the 1,290 GW seen last year. In 2022, a heatwave depleted hydropower reservoirs, and power cuts were enacted in some parts of southwestern China. Back then, the outages led to factory shutdowns and declines in manufacturing production in August, which further weighed on the weak economic growth in China last year.
More than two and a half years of “zero-Covid” policies that included strict curbs on movement and weaker factory activity led to just 3% growth in China’s economy in 2022, the second-worst performance since 1976. The worst performance since then was in 2020, when the beginning of the pandemic hit growth and China’s economy rose by 2.2%.
Throughout August last year, China had to extend orders for industries to shut down production as heatwaves and extreme drought in its southwestern regions boosted electricity demand while reducing hydropower production in the largest hydropower-generating province.
The heatwave in the Sichuan province and the rest of southwestern China led to soaring residential power demand. But the heatwave and the worst drought in six decades also depleted hydropower reservoirs in the major hydroelectricity-generating province of Sichuan. As a result, authorities had to impose power curbs and reduce working hours at shopping malls to conserve electricity. The drought and heat waves were so extreme that the province ordered all factories to close for days to help ease the pressure on the power supply.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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