HomeEarthChina factories ration power as heatwave sends demand soaring

China factories ration power as heatwave sends demand soaring

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According to state media, China’s lithium hub Sichuan province will ration electricity supply to factories until Saturday as a heatwave drives up power demand and dries up reservoirs.

Temperatures in the province, which is home to nearly 84 million people, have been hovering above 40-42 degrees Celsius (104-108 degrees Fahrenheit) since last week, increasing demand for air conditioning.

Dams provide 80 percent of the region’s electricity, but rivers in the area have dried up this summer, according to Beijing’s Water Resources Ministry.

The province in China’s southwest produces half of the country’s lithium, which is used in electric vehicle batteries, and its hydropower projects power industrial hubs along the country’s east coast.

However, the local government has decided to prioritize residential power supply, ordering industrial users in 19 of the province’s 21 cities to shut down until Saturday, according to a notice issued on Sunday.

Several companies, including aluminum producer Henan Zhongfu Industrial and fertilizer producer Sichuan Meifeng Chemical Industry, announced production halts in stock exchange statements.

Foxconn, a Taiwanese conglomerate and Apple supplier, has also halted production in the province, according to Taipei’s Central News Agency.

Depending on their production requirements, some companies will be allowed to operate at a reduced capacity.

“Sources estimate that at least 1,200 tonnes of lithium output will be reduced due to operations disruptions over the next five days,” Susan Zou, an analyst at Rystad Energy, told AFP, adding that the price of lithium carbonate had risen since Monday.

A summer of extreme weather in China has resulted in multiple major cities experiencing their hottest days on record.

The national observatory in China reissued a red alert for high temperatures on Monday, according to state media, as temperatures soared past 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) across large swaths of the country.

According to local media reports, provinces such as Zhejiang, Jiangsu, and Anhui, which rely on power from western China, have also issued electricity curbs for industrial users to ensure homes have enough power.

According to scientists, extreme weather has become more common as a result of climate change and will likely become more intense as global temperatures rise.

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