Beijing will support coal production after the daily consumption level of energy produced by the plants rose by 15% in the first two weeks of August.
China will offer assistance to coal plants to secure electricity supplies as energy consumption rises due to an extreme heat wave and severe drought.
The heat wave and the scarcity of rain are drying up reservoirs in Sichuan province, a province with 80 million people that depends mainly on hydroelectric power, forcing local authorities to ask companies to temporarily close factories.
At the same time, energy consumption has skyrocketed, given the greater use of air conditioning by the local population, at a time when temperatures rise above 40 degrees.
Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng said Beijing would support coal production after the level of daily consumption of energy produced by the plants rose by 15% in the first two weeks of August compared with the same level. period of 2021.
“[We need] to ensure the safe supply of electricity to the population (…) and key sectors,” Han said during a visit to the State Grid Corporation of China. The government will “increase political support [and] take various measures to help coal plants alleviate real difficulties,” he added, without giving details.
The decision could set back China’s ambition to improve air quality. Also in 2021, that Asian country faced power cuts that forced rationing in several important provinces.
This Asian country is the world’s largest emitter of polluting gases. Almost two-thirds of the energy consumed in China comes from burning coal.
The drought has prompted some local governments along the Yangtze River — China’s most important waterway whose water has dropped to an all-time low last week — to try to trigger artificial rain by launching rockets that release condensation substances, like silver iodide, in the clouds, accelerating precipitation.
US electric vehicle maker Tesla and Chinese state-owned automaker SAIC Motor said power shortages in Sichuan had led to problems in supply chains, prompting Shanghai officials to ask counterparts in the southwestern province that manufacturers of parts are spared from energy rationing.
Homes, metro stations and shopping centers were also hit by the power outages.
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