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  16 Aug 2022, 10:53

China factories ration power as heatwave sends demand soaring

BEIJING, Aug 16, 2022 (BSS/AFP) - Chinese lithium hub Sichuan province will

ration electricity supply to factories until Saturday, state media reported,
as a heatwave sends power demands soaring and dries up reservoirs.

Temperatures in the province -- home to nearly 84 million people -- have
hovered above 40-42 degrees Celsius (104-108 degrees Fahrenheit) since last
week, according to data from China's Meteorological Administration,
increasing the demand for air conditioning.

The region relies on dams to generate 80 percent of its electricity, but
rivers in the area have dried up this summer, Beijing's Water Resources
Ministry said.

The province in China's southwest produces half the nation's lithium, used in
batteries for electric vehicles, and its hydropower projects provide
electricity to industrial hubs along the country's east coast.

But the local government has decided to prioritise residential power supply,
ordering industrial users in 19 out of 21 cities in the province to suspend
production until Saturday, according to a notice issued Sunday.

Several companies including aluminium producer Henan Zhongfu Industrial and
fertiliser producers Sichuan Meifeng Chemical Industry said in stock exchange
statements they were suspending production.

A plant operated by Taiwanese giant and Apple supplier Foxconn in the
province has also suspended production, Taipei's Central News Agency
reported.

Some companies will be permitted to operate at a limited capacity, depending
on their production needs.

"Sources estimate at least 1,200 tonnes of lithium output will be cut due to
the operations disruptions in these five days," Susan Zou, an analyst at
Rystad Energy, told AFP, adding the cost of lithium carbonate had jumped
since Monday.

A summer of extreme weather in China has seen multiple major cities record
their hottest days ever.

China's national observatory reissued a red alert for high temperatures on
Monday, state media reported, as the mercury soared past 40 degrees Celsius
(104 Fahrenheit) across swathes of the country.

Provinces including Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Anhui that rely on power from
western China have also issued electricity curbs for industrial users to
ensure homes had enough power, according to local media reports.

Scientists say extreme weather across the world has become more frequent due
to climate change, and will likely grow more intense as global temperatures
rise.

 

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