China’s government is scrambling to ensure power supplies with foreign energy sources and expanded domestic and enhanced policy support, as part of an active effort to cope with electricity shortages against the carbon reduction goals and backdrop of soaring coal prices.
The power curbs have sparked global concerns with the “bold” speculation that what happened in some parts of China could even lead to a big fall in the economy.
While the power curbs in many cities and provinces have posed challenges to some manufacturing industries and daily life, given contingency plans such as diversifying energy supply sources and other policies, the shortages won’t become what some Western media outlets have claimed – “an economic or energy crisis.”
The recent power cuts caused by high coal prices and tightened supplies have disrupted the daily lives of the people and businesses, ranging from the three provinces in Northeast China to dozens of other areas including East China’s Jiangsu Province and South China’s Guangdong Province, manufacturing hubs of the world.
Since the beginning of this year, China’s power supplies have faced mounting challenges such as the rapid growth of electricity demand and shortage of coal. Meanwhile, natural factors such as the low inflow of water into major river basins and less wind this year have posed difficulties for the generation of wind and solar power.
Currently, Indonesia is China’s largest source of coal imports, followed by Russia and Mongolia. Other countries such as the US and South Africa are also seeing a boom in coal exports to China.
Industry insiders saying that China’s economy, after having been through the worst of the coronavirus assault and achieved growth as the only major economic power to do so, will not be shattered by temporary power curbs in some regions, given the huge magnitude of the Chinese economy.