Blackouts in China as heat wave pushes electricity usage to record levels


A long-running heatwave in China has pushed electricity usage to record levels in some areas and led to blackouts, with warnings that the high temperatures are expected to continue for at least another week.

According to the reports, more than 300 cities were forecast to reach temperatures above 35 degrees Celsius on Tuesday. China Southern Power Grid Company said Monday’s usage had surpassed last year’s peak load by 3 per cent. The Guangdong province power grid also hit a record high, reaching 142m kilowatts, an increase of 4.89 per cent over last year’s peak load.

The report further added blackouts were reported in the provincial capital, Guangzhou, which has recorded a full week of maximum temperatures above 37 degrees Celsius, including highs of 40 degrees Celsius on Sunday and Monday.

In recent years there have been widespread blackouts that have caused havoc across China, blamed on extreme temperatures, rising demand for electricity and shortages in coal, which is still the main source of China’s power. China is among several countries to have moved back towards a coal-focused energy supply, despite ambitious emissions reduction pledges, amid a global crisis exacerbated by the Ukraine conflict.

On Monday, 21 red warnings and 140 orange warnings were issued for high temperatures, predominately across the south-east and in the far west, including Xinjiang.

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