Sichuan, China’s largest hydropower Province, has suddenly cut power supply?

Spread the love

Source: lukewen studio (ID: lukewen1982)

Author: Captain Xinghai

Recently, a news about “Foxconn’s power cut and shutdown” was searched.

According to the financial Associated Press, Foxconn Chengdu limited power from August 15 to 20, only 20% of the security load was reserved, and the production of the whole plant was stopped.

This surprised many people. Sichuan is the largest hydropower Province in China. How can it be short of electricity?


Why does Sichuan restrict electricity? The real situation is very simple, that is, simple electricity is not enough.

It is reasonable to say that anyone who lacks power cannot lack power in Sichuan, because Sichuan is extremely rich in hydropower resources. For example, there is the Baihetan Hydropower Station, the second largest hydropower station in China, with a total installed capacity of 16 million kilowatts. The power generation capacity of this hydropower station alone is enough for 90% of the people in Sichuan Province.

In addition to Baihetan, there are several large hydropower stations in Sichuan, such as Xiluodu, Wudongde, Jinping, Ertan, Pubugou and Guanyinyan Hydropower Stations. By the end of 2021, the installed capacity of hydropower in Sichuan reached 89.47 million kilowatts, accounting for 21.2% of the national hydropower. The installed capacity and annual power generation ranked first in the country. Just like Shanxi people never worry about coal, Sichuan people never worry about electricity.

Then why isn’t there enough electricity? We can explain it from the supply side and the consumption side.

On the supply side, as mentioned above, Sichuan’s hydropower resources are so rich that Sichuan has no power and is not interested in developing polluting and expensive thermal power. As a result, thermal power only accounts for about 15% of the total power generation in Sichuan. However, there is no problem at ordinary times, but this year’s special climate will cause problems.

As we all know, this year’s climate is high in the whole country. Sichuan has also experienced the longest extreme high temperature and drought disaster in 50 years. In July, 40% of the water from hydropower was dry, and since August, 50% of the water was dry. The Jialing River in Chongqing, which is located in the lower reaches of Sichuan, has exposed the shoals at the bottom of the river. In Chongqing, 66 rivers have been cut off, 25 reservoirs have dried up, and 33 districts, counties and 585 townships are facing water difficulties.

Hydropower stations rely on the drop of water level to generate electricity. As a result, the water is evaporated by the high temperature. What can we do to generate electricity? Therefore, since July, Sichuan’s hydropower capacity has dropped from about 900 million kwh / day in the same period to about 450 million kwh / day at present, and it is still declining.

The hydropower generation is reduced by half, and the thermal power is too small, so it is very normal for the power supply to be tight.

Let’s take a look at the consumer side. Since the beginning of this year, there has been a wide range of high-temperature weather. The daily maximum temperature of 90 national meteorological observation stations in Sichuan has exceeded the historical extreme value, becoming the strongest high-temperature event since the complete meteorological records were recorded in 1961.

It’s hot. Can you turn on the air conditioner? Do you want to eat a popsicle to cool down? Even if you don’t have an air conditioner, at least you should turn on the fan?

This has led to a sharp increase in the power load of Sichuan this year, which has broken the historical record for six times. At present, the daily load of Sichuan is about 60 million kilowatts, nearly half of that of Guangdong, a major manufacturing province.

Of course, there is another reason, that is, power allocation.

Before that, Sichuan’s power generation has been inexhaustible. In many cases, there is even excess water in hydropower stations. In order to ensure the safety of water level, we had to “abandon water and power”, that is, to release water without generating power. For several years, Sichuan’s annual abandoned water and power exceeded 10 billion kwh.

It’s a pity to waste water and electricity. It’s better to sell it out. Therefore, Sichuan has become a major province for transmitting electricity from the west to the East. Since the first Sichuan electricity transmission was completed in 1998, Sichuan has accumulated more than 1.3 trillion kwh of clean energy, equivalent to the annual power generation of 13 Three Gorges hydropower stations. This can not only ensure that electricity is not wasted, but also recover the investment in the construction of hydropower stations.

However, this kind of electricity sales is not “Sichuan uses first and then sells the rest”. In this way, the amount of electricity supplied to the outside world is different every month. How can people still make electricity use plans? Therefore, there should be a fixed amount of electricity supplied from Sichuan to other provinces. In any case, you should supply electricity to other provinces according to the contract. Even if your own electricity is not enough, you should also ensure the electricity transmitted. After all, if the eastern industrial developed provinces lose power, the loss will be greater from the perspective of the whole country.

Then, power limitation has become the only choice in Sichuan. Please note that this is planned power limitation, not power outage. For example, if you limit power from a few days to a few days, and if you limit power from a few days to a few days, the balance of power supply can be ensured. If you do not limit power, and the total power consumption exceeds the power supply load one day, there will be a sudden power cut, and everyone will have no power. This is not a joke. For example, if the molten steel that is about to be discharged from the furnace is suddenly cut off, it will solidify in the furnace and cannot be poured out, The steel-making furnace and furnace charge are scrapped, resulting in huge economic losses.

But for whom? In the power consumption structure of Sichuan Province, residential power consumption accounts for 40% and industrial power consumption accounts for 60%. Although the proportion of industrial power consumption is high, it involves fewer people. The proportion of residential power consumption is low, but it involves more people.

Is it to protect industry or people’s livelihood? This balance is difficult to measure. In the end, Sichuan decided to limit industrial power consumption to ensure people’s livelihood. Sichuan has established a “list of orderly power consumption”, and the enterprises in the list should cut off power according to the plan to ensure that the power is inclined to the residents.

Therefore, power is limited by industrial and mining enterprises, which consume large amounts of electricity. No one can run away. Even the Ningde era has been limited. What can Foxconn not limit?


Although the purpose of restricting industrial power consumption is to ensure the people’s livelihood, the impact of power restriction on the economy should not be ignored.

Electricity is closely related to the economy. To a certain extent, electricity demand is a “barometer” of economic growth. Electricity consumption has always been the most core indicator for foreign countries to observe China’s macroeconomic operation.

However, if there is a lack of electricity, the first reaction is to cut off the industrial electricity, or even form a habit, then it is also inappropriate.

Sichuan is located in the western mountainous area. The natural conditions and traffic conditions are not very good. Why do other enterprises want to invest and build factories in Sichuan? Isn’t it because Sichuan’s hydropower is cheap and its production cost is low?

Up to now, which of the five key enterprises in Sichuan, including electronic information, equipment manufacturing, food and beverage, advanced materials and energy and chemical industry, is not a major power consumer? Which is not an important strategic product directly related to China’s economic development?

For example, polysilicon is the key raw material for the production of photovoltaic modules and chips. For example, lithium carbonate is an important material for power batteries of new energy vehicles. For example, the electronic industry in Sichuan involves the entire industrial chain of PC, communication equipment, chip semiconductor, etc. There are also a series of metals and petrochemical products, which are important raw materials for production.

It is estimated that this power cut will cause some wafer factories in Sichuan to not only face a week of shutdown, but also bear the additional loss of scrapping some wafers. According to SMM data, power restriction will reduce the output of lithium carbonate by about 1120 tons, accounting for 3% of the industry; The output of lithium hydroxide decreased by about 1690 tons, accounting for about 8% of the industry. Even the iPad output of Chengdu Foxconn and Chongqing Renbao may face a decline.

The key point is that Sichuan is an indispensable link in China’s entire industrial chain. If power is limited and production is stopped in Sichuan, the entire industrial chain will tremble. For example, Ti, Intel, China microelectronics, Zhenxin technology and Leshan Radio, the leading semiconductor supply chain enterprises in Sichuan, BOE and downstream Huike, Changhong, etc., the leading display panel enterprises, Ningde era, the leading power battery, Honghai, Renbao and Wistron, the three giants of Taiwan Electronics OEM, Will also be affected. Now, the Shanghai Economic and Information Technology Commission has been forced to send a letter to Sichuan, requesting to guarantee the power demand of 16 parts suppliers of SAIC and Tesla.

Therefore, blindly limiting electricity is not a solution. It will also affect the economy that has been slowly recovering from the epidemic.

So, whether it is Sichuan or other provinces, we must carefully consider how to improve the ability to cope with power shortage caused by emergencies.

In this regard, the most effective way is to build an UHV transmission network. We all know that most of China’s population and industries are concentrated in the eastern region, while the vast western region has resources but no population, resulting in great waste. Therefore, China has always attached importance to UHV transmission technology. Those who have studied physics know that the higher the voltage, the smaller the loss, UHV AC transmission lines can extend the longest transmission distance by 3 times, and the 1000 kV AC transmission power can reach 4 to 5 times of the 500 kV line.

At present, there are four UHV transmission lines in Sichuan, namely Xiangjiaba Shanghai, Jinping Sunan, Xiluodu left bank Jinhua, Zhejiang and Yazhong Jiangxi UHV projects. You will find that they are all transmission lines from power rich areas to power poor areas, but no one can imagine what to do if Sichuan is short of power?

It is also very easy to solve this problem. For example, in March this year, Sichuan put forward the “14th five year plan” for energy development in Sichuan Province, which includes the planning and construction of the Western Sichuan second channel UHV transmission project. Don’t forget that the hydropower resources in Tibet, a neighbor of Sichuan, are even more abundant than those in Sichuan. However, the local load in Tibet is small, and if you want to recover the investment, you can only send it out. Sichuan is located in the only way for power transmission outside Tibet, so it is better to build a new or even several Tibet Sichuan UHV transmission channels to introduce Tibet power supply for continuous power transmission.

In this way, when Sichuan has sufficient electricity, Tibet can sell electricity to the outside through the Sichuan transmission channel. If Sichuan suffers from power shortage under special circumstances, Tibet’s electricity can solve the problem of insufficient supply in Sichuan.

Second, when the state allocates electric energy, it can not always collect electricity from one sheep. In case of power shortage in the East, it should also try to broaden the supply channels, such as Shanxi, Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, Yunnan, etc. it is not allowed that most of the electricity in one province depends on another province. In this way, if the supply side is short, other provinces will supplement the electricity, and the supply provinces themselves will not be too short of money.

Nor can a single mode be relied on for power composition. Germany has learned a profound lesson in this respect. Germany is the most radical country to promote new energy power generation. It has cut down a large number of thermal power plants, making the proportion of new energy power generation reach 49.3%. However, this year’s extreme high temperature weather has a great impact on wind power generation, hydropower generation and photovoltaic power generation, resulting in power shortage. Even the French nuclear power plant, the lifesaver of Germany, has a high water temperature due to the climate, which affects the water used by the nuclear power plant to cool the reactor, resulting in a large discount in power generation. A series of factors have put Germany into an energy crisis. The electricity cost several yuan per hour, and the people are suffering.

Therefore, at any time, it is necessary to ensure a part of the thermal power generation capacity as the final guarantee of power consumption.

Of course, to completely solve this short-term power shortage problem in the future, it is still necessary to vigorously develop energy storage technology.

As the name implies, energy storage is to store electric energy in various ways, so as to balance the relationship between electric energy supply, release it when necessary, and store it when unnecessary.

In the past, our energy storage was basically pumped storage, that is, when the power is abundant, we pumped water from the low level to the high level, and then put the water down to generate electricity when the power is insufficient.

However, this method has high investment cost, limited by geographical conditions and low energy density, so electrochemical energy storage has also begun to flourish in recent years.

We all know that in the face of the pressure of carbon peak in recent years, the state has been promoting the construction of wind energy and photovoltaic energy, but the progress has not been smooth. Why? Because it is difficult to store the generated electric energy. For example, photovoltaic, when the sun rises, but we don’t need electricity for lighting, the electricity will be wasted. When we start to need electricity at night, the photovoltaic will not be able to generate electricity. Therefore, to promote new energy power generation, we must have a storage device.

At present, electrochemical energy storage is the most concerned energy storage technology in the market, with the focus on lithium batteries. China’s lithium-ion battery technology is relatively mature and has entered the stage of large-scale production, which is also the focus of China’s future development.

In 2021, the national energy administration and the national development and Reform Commission jointly issued the guiding opinions on accelerating the development of new energy storage, which requires that new energy power plants to be built in the future must be equipped with energy storage generating units, with an installed capacity of 10%. The purpose is to store the surplus electricity at the production end, so as to smooth the power supply of the whole society and avoid frequent power limitation events.

If this guidance is followed, China will need at least several hundred million kilowatts of energy storage generating units in the future. In this way, the prospect of energy storage is very broad, and it will certainly drive the electrochemical energy storage industry such as lithium battery, vanadium battery and sodium battery to become a market hotspot and an important target favored by capital.

Therefore, electric energy storage is a key direction of future development, and it will also be a key area where capital swarms. The current power limitation in Sichuan will only accelerate this process.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *