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Yunnan, southern China prepare for power shortage

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A coal shortage has led to the shut down of more than six percent of southern China's electricity generation capacity, prompting concerns of a regional electricity shortage, according to a Bloomberg report.

China Southern Power Grid Co Vice President Xiao Peng told Bloomberg that the power distributor has sent an urgent request to the central government in Beijing to address the electricity shortage. Yunnan has shut 3.8 gigawatts (GW) of generation capacity, along with 4.2 GW in Guizhou and 2.3 GW in Guangxi.

China generates more than three-fourths of its electricity by burning coal. Coal supplies nationwide have been affected by rising prices plus bottlenecks in China's overloaded transport infrastructure. Government shuttering of small, unregulated coal mines has also affected coal supply.

China Southern Power's Xiao told Bloomberg that power shortages could approach 8 GW, with a slight easing after Chinese New Year and a peak expected during the summer. Northern China is expected to have a power surplus this year as the country's south struggles to meet demand. Government officials expect China's electricity demand to grow 13.5 percent this year, reaching 3.7 billion megawatt-hours.

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