Faced with losing more money with each additional ton of coal they burn, some power plants have closed for maintenance in recent weeks, saying this was needed for safety reasons. Many other power plants have been operating below full capacity, and have been leery of increasing generation when that would mean losing more money, said Lin Boqiang, dean of the China Institute for Energy Policy Studies at Xiamen University.
China’s main economic planning agency, the National Development and Reform Commission, also ordered 20 large cities and provinces in late August to reduce energy consumption for the rest of the year. The regulators cited a need to make sure that the cities and provinces met full-year targets set by Beijing for their carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels.
Besides coal, hydroelectric dams supply much of the rest of China’s power, while wind turbines, solar panels and nuclear power plants play a growing role.
China’s difficulty in keeping the lights on and the faucets running poses a challenge for Xi Jinping, the country’s top leader, and the Chinese Communist Party. They have taken a triumphalist stance this year, emphasizing China’s success in quickly eliminating outbreaks of the coronavirus and in winning the release of a senior Huawei executive, Meng Wanzhou, in a dispute with the United States and Canada.
But Mr. Xi risks getting tagged for problems as well as successes. He has moved strongly to quell any opposition within the Communist Party and has extended its reach into more sectors of Chinese life. If people in China begin to point fingers, there are few others to blame.
China’s economic rebound from the coronavirus has been driven in large part by heavy investment in infrastructure as well as the rise in exports. Overall industrial use consumes 70 percent of the electricity in China, led by the mostly state-owned producers of steel, cement and aluminum.
Source : https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/27/business/economy/china-electricity.html347