Power Crisis In China Blackouts, Chaos On Roads – Free PDF Download


What has happened?

  • Power cuts and even blackouts have slowed or closed factories across China in recent days,
  • Adding a new threat to the country’s slowing economy and potentially further snarling global supply chains ahead of the busy Christmas shopping season in the West.
  • The outages have rippled across most of eastern China, where the bulk of the population lives and works.
  • Some building managers have turned off elevators.
  • Some municipal pumping stations have shut down, prompting one town to urge residents to store extra water for the next several months, though it later withdrew the advice.


  • Restrictions on power use in homes have only just taken effect.
  • However, China’s massive industrial base has been wrestling with sporadic jumps in power prices and usage curbs since at least March,
  • When provincial authorities in Inner Mongolia ordered some heavy industry including an aluminium smelter to curb use so that the province could meet its energy use target for the first quarter.
  • In May, manufacturers in the southern province of Guangdong, a major exporting powerhouse, encountered similar requests to curb consumption as a combination of hot weather and lower than usual hydropower generation strained the grid.
  • Other major industrial zones along China’s east coast have also encountered recent consumption caps and power cuts.

China’s energy use target

  • China’s President Xi Jinping announced in late 2020 at a United Nations summit on climate change that the country would cut its carbon dioxide emissions per unit of gross domestic product, or carbon intensity, by more than 65% from 2005 levels by 2030.
  • As the world’s top producer of carbon dioxide and other polluting gases, China’s ability to cut emissions is seen as critical in the global fight against climate change.
  • Xi also pledged sharp increases in renewable energy capacity at the summit,
  • But his carbon intensity targets have been the most closely followed guidelines for emissions reduction since,
  • Especially at the provincial level where local authorities have
    the responsibility of making sure the targets are reached.


  • According to the country’s main planning agency, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), only 10 out of 30 mainland Chinese regions achieved their energy reduction targets in the first six months of 2021.
  • In response to that collective overshoot, the NDRC announced in mid-September tougher punishments for regions that fail to meet their targets, and said it would hold local officials to account for limiting absolute energy demand in their regions.


  • China’s total power generation through August of 2021 was actually 1% greater than in the same period in 2020, and nearly 15% more than in the same slot in 2019 as utilities across the country cranked up power to meet surging industrial demand.
  • However, along with the higher power generation came higher toxic emissions, which surpassed pre-pandemic levels in the first quarter of the year.

Reasons for short supply of power

  • There are several reasons electricity is suddenly in short supply in much of China.
  • More regions of the world are reopening after pandemic-induced lockdowns, greatly increasing demand for China’s electricity-hungry export factories.
  • Export demand for aluminum, one of the most energy-intensive products, has been strong.
  • Demand has also been robust for steel and cement, central to China’s vast construction programs.
  • As electricity demand has risen, it has also pushed up the price of coal to generate that electricity.
  • But Chinese regulators have not let utilities raise rates enough to cover the rising cost of coal.
  • So the utilities have been slow to operate their power plants for more hours.
  • One major near-term challenge for Beijing is its ongoing trade dispute with Australia, the world’s second-largest coal exporter,
  • Which has greatly curbed coal shipments to China just as local authorities stepped up safety standards that have slowed production at Chinese coal mines following a series of accidents.
  • Another factor is a global shortage of natural gas, as a number of major economies look to stock up on the fuel simultaneously following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.


  • It is not clear how long the power crunch will last.
  • Experts in China predicted that officials would compensate by steering electricity away from energy-intensive heavy industries like steel, cement and aluminum, and said that might fix the problem.

Q) How much more heat is produced, if the current is doubled?

  1. Same as the original amount
  2. Twice the original amount
  3. Thrice the original amount
  4. Four times the original amount




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