Hydropower in China Under Pressure as Rivers Dry Up

  • China has been hit by heat waves, flash floods and droughts this summer.
  • Scientists have warned these extreme weather events could get more frequent due to climate change. 

Multiple provinces have announced power cuts, while Shanghai has switched off decorative lights at its Bund riverfront for two days starting Monday, as a nationwide heatwave has caused a surge in demand for power. Ornamental lights, billboards and video screens on both sides of the Huangpu River have also been turned off for Monday and Tuesday.

The high demand is partly driven by people using air conditioning to cope with the rising mercury, which has gone as high as 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit). Official data says the heatwave has reduced stretches of the Yangtze River to unprecedented drought levels. This has increased pressure on hydroelectric power plants, which supply energy to key economic zones of the country.

Other provinces which use coal power to generate electricity haven’t been affected as much. The southwestern city Chongqing said its malls will operate only between 4:00pm and 9:00pm to cut power consumption, said state channel CCTV.

“Since July this year, the province has faced the most extreme high temperatures, the lowest rainfall in the corresponding period in history… (and) the highest power load in history,” local authorities in Sichuan province said.

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

Source: DW 

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