China: The scorching heat has pushed electricity demand to record levels and the Yangtze River Basin threatens to run out of hydropower, Vice-Premier Han Zheng has said, adding that China is trying to ensure stable energy from coal-fired power plants. and will increase support for miners. supply.
The water level of the Yangtze River, China's largest river, has reached historic lows as a result of the region's recent drought and record-breaking temperatures.
Sichuan, Chongqing, Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Shanghai are some of the major economic and manufacturing centers located along the river, all of which have experienced power outages that have disrupted commercial and residential operations.
China's leaders have vowed to ensure energy security, even if it means increased consumption of coal, hitting climate targets in an effort to repeat the weeks-long power crisis that struck the world's second-largest economy last year. could put you in danger.
Han, a member of the Politburo Standing Committee, said development of coal projects should be accelerated and that joint ventures between coal mines and coal-fired power plants, as well as coal and renewable energy partnerships, "vigorously promoted". must be given."
Han made the remarks while visiting the State Grid Corporation of China in Beijing on Wednesday. To cope with rising demand, especially for cooling during heatwaves, many southern manufacturing centers have imposed power restrictions in various industries.
Sichuan, in China's southwest on the upper Yangtze River, has ordered a six-day shutdown for all factories due to low hydropower reservoirs.
Local officials said in a meeting on Saturday that about 80% of Sichuan's electricity is produced by dams, but because of the drought, water levels have dropped by 30% to 50% from last year.
In Chongqing, the economic center of the Upper Yangtze next to Sichuan, 24 reservoirs have dried up and 51 rivers have disappeared.
According to the Chongqing City Water Resources Bureau, according to Chinese media, only 63.3% of the city's standard volume is being stored in water conservancy projects.
Temperatures in the city have remained above 40 °C (104 °F) for 11 consecutive days as of Thursday, and this trend is forecast to last through Tuesday.
The province is not dependent on hydroelectric power, but from Monday it has started rationing electricity across the city and ordered production shutdowns in Bishan district for 10 days.
Hejiang, Jiangsu, and Anhui provinces, which lie along the Yangtze River but do not depend on hydropower, have placed restrictions on how much power they can use, impacting steel, non-ferrous metals, polyester, and steel. like industries. Fabric manufacturing.
On Wednesday, 5.4 million residents of Dazhou city, which borders Chongqing, experienced frequent power outages in their residences, places of business and retail establishments.
According to details of a speech published in the official QiXi magazine in May, President Xi Jinping promised the government "never to allow a massive power cut to happen again" after China's power crisis last year.
Because of this, coal projects in China—the biggest consumer of fossil fuels—continue to grow, undermining efforts to combat climate change.
“Spurred by demand for energy supply and peak load regulation, thermal power investment entered an inflection point in Q4 2021 and achieved higher growth in 2022,” Essence Securities, a Chinese financial firm, said earlier this month.
According to a Wednesday report by Chinese media outlet Caixin, Guangdong will add 6.7 million kilowatts of coal power projects intended to be commissioned by 2024.
However, China has said that despite limited energy supplies, it will still peak its carbon emissions before 2030.