Chinese factories ration power supply due to heatwave

BEIJING, China — China’s lithium hub in Sichuan province will ration power supplies to factories until Saturday, state media reported, as a heat wave sends demand for electricity soaring. electricity and dries up the reservoirs.

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

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

The southwestern province of China produces half of the country’s lithium, used in batteries for electric vehicles, and its hydroelectric projects supply power to industrial centers along the country’s east coast.

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

Several companies, including aluminum producer Henan Zhongfu Industrial and fertilizer producers Sichuan Meifeng Chemical Industry, said in stock market statements that they were suspending production.

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

Some businesses will be allowed to operate at limited capacity, depending on their production needs.

“Sources estimate that at least 1,200 tonnes of lithium production will be cut due to disruptions to operations over these five days,” Susan Zou, an analyst at Rystad Energy, told AFP, adding that the cost of the lithium carbonate had surged since Monday.

A summer of extreme weather in China saw several major cities record their hottest days.

China’s national observatory again issued a red alert for high temperatures on Monday, state media reported, as mercury rose above 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) across swathes of the country. AFP

According to local media, provinces such as Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Anhui, which depend on electricity from western China, have also issued electricity restrictions for industrial users to ensure that houses have enough electricity.

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

Rosemary C. Kearney