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Wednesday, 31 August 2022

Why Power Cut in Sichuan & Chongqing?

30 August 2022

China has a widespread power cut in 2021 when there were coal supply shortages.  Millions of homes,  factories, and businesses were affected. 

This year,  Sichuan and Chongqing have power cuts again.  This time,  it is because of searing heat and severe droughts.  


This is because Sichuan and Chongqing rely heavily on hydropower.  The dry weather and drought have the main reservoirs drained.  Many sections of the  Yangtze River reached their lowest level which was never seen after the severe drought in 1865.

Power Sources?

The whole of China

Sichuan Area

Therefore,  if there is a drought,   Sichuan and Chongqing will suffer power cuts.

How Serious?

The situation is quite critical at the moment.  This is because the largest hydropower station,   the 3 Gorges,  is running low on the water supply as can be seen from this chart.

Doubleclick picture to go to the original webpage

The chart shows that the water inflow rate was very low and declining steadily while they triggered the outflow in a seesaw manner probably just to keep some flowing water for the Yangtze river.   The water level had reached the critical level of 145 meters which is quoted to be the minimum water level for proper power generation.

The chart was projecting a rising water inflow for the coming months.

Why other Power Stations Not Covering Power Shortage?

It will depend on whether there is a power distribution network available & enough to supply the Sichuan area.  As the hydropower stations in the Sichuan area are designed to supply power to the national Power Grid through Extra High Tension @ Direct Current in the region of 500 kV.  

As Sichuan is quite remote from the National electrical load Center which is along the Eastern coastline,  there might not be a "solid" power feed from National Power Grid.   

Presently,  the Chinese Government is trying to alleviate the power shortage in the Sichuan area by constructing a 500-kV transmission network for connecting the ongoing Ertan hydroelectric project to the Sichuan power grid.  There are also reinforcing the existing power transmission system

How's the Weather?

In the next 11-14 days (September 9-12), the cumulative rainfall in southern South China, eastern Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, Sichuan Basin, and Yunnan will be 10-30 mm, and there will be no significant precipitation in most of the rest of China as shown in this weather forecast chart.

It is likely that weather will bring some rainwater to the 3 Gorges dam as shown in this chart

Doubleclick picture to go to the original webpage

What about Weather in the Pacific?

There was a Tropical Cyclone Warning on Thursday,  25 August 2022 but it was a false alarm.  The government downgraded the typhoon alert to  "signal No. 3" and businesses in Hong Kong were back to normal in the afternoon.

There was speculation also that Super Typhoon Hinnamnor will hit the mainland and bring lots of rain of water.  That too will not materialize as this latest picture shows that Typhoon Hinnamnor will deflect its path when it hit the Taiwan island.

What about Year End Weather?

This chart shows that China has a maximum rainfall around August of each year.  The rainfall will reduce towards the end of the year.

Doubleclick to go to the original webpage

The shortage of water supply for hydropower generation in the 3 Gorges could still linger till the end of the year unless there is a sudden change in the weather in the southern part of China.

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