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Record-breaking temperatures brought on by heat waves have harmed businesses and communities for several weeks in China, particularly in the province of Sichuan. More than 80 million people reside in the southwestern province of China, suffering from the consequences of extreme heat.
The Chinese government has therefore mandated the temporary closure of factories in Sichuan in order to reduce energy consumption. The authorities have taken additional measures, including reducing air conditioning use, blackouts, and shutting down power lines in offices and subways during prescribed intervals.
As such, the interventions led to significant production losses in the tech sector and farms that heavily rely on energy to maintain the vitality of their goods. In the long run, experts predict that this will have a big impact on global trade. In addition, the effects of the changes made by the authorities in Sichuan are beginning to be noticed in nearby cities like Chongqing and the provinces near the Yangtze River.
China’s economic diversity and wealth have long been factors of national pride. Residents, who are accustomed to the lavish lifestyle China has provided for so many years, are shocked by recent developments. People had memories of a time when China was not the economic powerhouse it is today because of the power outages, for instance.
Because climate change jeopardizes China’s anticipated economic growth, the nation’s energy crisis has worsened conditions for citizens and the nation.
Li Shuo, a Greenpeace climate adviser, said, “These so-called extreme weather events will have more impact on our lives and electricity supply. And perhaps we all need to reconsider whether these extreme events will become the new normal.”
Sichuan province energy plants
Given its proximity to the Yangtze River, China’s largest and longest river, Sichuan is an important energy source for the country. Hydropower energy plants produce energy as a result of the river’s active stream. The factories have been operating for many years, giving the country abundant energy to power its urban areas, residences, and workplaces.
The rising temperatures caused reservoirs along the river to run dry. As a result of the stations’ issues, a power shortage started. This month, the result was a 50% decrease in Sichuan’s hydroelectricity capacity. As long as there are heat waves, this is likely to persist.
Lauri Myllyvirta, a Finland-based Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air lead analyst, said, “China’s electricity demand has been incredibly flat in the past because so much of it has come from the industry, not from households or services. Now with air conditioning becoming more common, the demand is becoming higher.”
“At the same time, rains are becoming more errant. Heavy rains and periods of drought make hydropower much less reliable as a source of available capacity during those peaks.”
The energy crisis management in China can affect the world
Worldwide consequences will result from China’s response to its current energy crisis. As a result of the nation’s 1.4 billion-plus inhabitants, 27% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions originate there. Climate conditions could worsen if the nation continues to burn coal to combat the crisis.
“There is a possibility that power shortages caused by future extreme weather events might become a new motivation for China to approve more (coal-fired power) projects,” Li stated.
“There is a possibility that power shortages caused by future extreme weather events might become a new motivation for China to approve more (coal-fired power) projects,” said Yu Aiqui, a researcher at the Global Energy Monitor.
Analysts disagree, stating that this change will only be temporary given China’s pressing need for coal. According to an energy consultant, “Capacity doesn’t equal generation. The capacity being there creates a lot of optionality and flexibility for all these other (renewable energy sources) they’re building. For now, I see the coal capacity additions, as for the most part, targeted at being able to support wind and solar.”
Opinions expressed by US Insider contributors are their own.