China's power shortage reaches 14 gigawatts

BEIJING, CHINA - After reaching record-high load levels several times this summer, China's power shortage as of July 15 reached 14 gigawatts (GW), according to an official of the State Grid Corporation (SGC).

SGC data show that as of July, the firm's stockpile of power coal totaled 34.78 million metric tons, which is equivalent to about 10-11 days of consumption. There are 198 power plants with stockpiles to last less than seven days and 69 plants with enough coal for less than three days, and 53 plants that were forced to shut down because of the lack of coal.

The SGC covers 541 coal-fired power plants with a total installed capacity of 416 GW, which could be a major factor in the shortage of coal and power supplies; however, the current power-coal-stockpile situation is slightly better than it was in the beginning of the year. The provinces of Shanxi, Shandong, Liaoning, Hebei, Hunan and Shaanxi are facing the majority of the power-coal shortage.

China is working to ensure a secure power supply during the summer Olympics in Beijing, and the stockpiles for plants in the Beijing-Tianjin-Tangshan region have been increasing.

"The major reason for the situation is that there is neither a complete benefit chain between the supply, transportation and procurement of power coal, nor an authority in charge to coordinate with various aspects of the industrial chain," the SGC said.


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