Drought in S.China may hurt west-to-east hydropower transmission, but impact will be brief: analyst
Published: Aug 17, 2022 08:53 PM

A citizen walks by a fountain amid high temperature in Minhang District of east China's Shanghai, July 10, 2022. Photo:Xinhua

A citizen walks by a fountain amid high temperature in Minhang District of east China's Shanghai, July 10, 2022. Photo:Xinhua

Low rainfall in southern China, including Sichuan, Yunnan and Guizhou provinces, is causing problems for local hydropower generators, and market watchers said that the drought may hurt power supplies in eastern China, but the impact will be seasonal and short-term.

"Guangzhou is feeling the shortage of power," Zhang Chuanming, president of JZ Energy, a company in the electricity industry in Guangdong Province, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Most of the hydropower in Guangdong comes from Yunnan, and some from Guangxi, "but I can see that supply from Yunnan has become less in the past two weeks," Zhang said. 

Currently, power shortages may spread in the country's south if supplies worsen amid high temperatures there, according to a report released by CITIC Securities on Wednesday. 

Due to low rainfall and high temperatures, drought has occurred in six provinces -- Sichuan, Chongqing, Hubei, Hunan, Anhui and Jiangxi along the Yangtze River-- since July.

The electricity flow in Sichuan since July has dropped from about 900 million kWh to about 450 million kWh, which is estimated to keep dropping at an average daily rate of 2 percent, news site reported on Tuesday. 

The installed capacity of hydropower in Sichuan Province accounts for more than 80 percent of its power supply, according to the report. 

State Grid Sichuan Power Electric Power Co said that the province has suffered from high temperatures since July, but from August 7, there came a new heat wave, coupled with the lowest precipitation.

To ensure residential power supply, the Sichuan government decided to shut off industrial power uses in the majority of the province from Monday to Saturday.

Neighboring Chongqing city said on Tuesday that it will halt industrial power supply from Wednesday until August 24, according to news outlet

Sichuan's power supply remains tight because of the continuous heat waves, the rapid growth of electricity use such as air conditioning, and drought.

Sichuan is also a key province of China's west-to-east power transmission program, and the city has contracts to ensure power transmission to other provinces.

Data from State Grid's Sichuan branch showed that as of June, it had cumulatively delivered 1.35 trillion kWh of electricity to East China, Northwest China, North China  and Central China, according to

However, Sichuan only accounts for 15 percent of the hydropower supply in China, and only 18 percent of the energy in China is from hydropower, as more than 60 percent of the power supply is from coal, Lin Boqiang, director of the China Center for Energy Economics Research at Xiamen University, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Power from Sichuan is limited for neighboring cities such as those in Zhejiang Province, Lin noted. 

Zhang from JZ Energy said the power shortage in Guangdong will not last for a long time, "for the hydro shortage is seasonal."

A high-tech manufacturing company in Kunshan, East China's Jiangsu Province told the Global Times that power cuts started on Tuesday, with a suspension of three hours per day, and no indication of how long it will last.

China Media Group on Tuesday reported that 3,300 enterprises in Ningbo of Jiangsu adjusted their work hours to avoid power outage.

Construction of the north power transmission tower of the Baihetan-Zhejiang 800-kilovolt ultra-high-voltage direct current power transmission project was completed on Tuesday, marking the completion of all power transmission towers across the Yangtze River of the Anhui section of the project, according to the Xinhua News Agency. 

Covering a total length of 2,140.2 kilometers, the project is an important part of China's west-to-east power transmission program.