People walk on a street along houses collapsed after a powerful earthquake at Zundao Township of Mianzhu, which is less than 50 kilometers from the epicenter Wenchuan County, Sichuan Province, yesterday. The 7.8-magnitude quake damaged power plants and transmission lines causing about 5.5 gigawatts of electricity generating capacity to be lost, according to the State Grid Corp of China.
The massive earthquake that hit Sichuan Province on Monday damaged power plants and transmission lines causing about 5.5 gigawatts of electricity generating capacity to be lost, according to the State Grid Corp of China.
In the southwestern province that took the brunt of the quake, about 4GW of capacity was lost while neighboring Shaanxi Province lost 1.5GW, the State Grid said in a statement yesterday. China's installed capacity totaled 713GW at the end of 2007.
State Grid, China's dominant grid operator, said its main network is stable and that the affected capacity is being gradually restored, although it didn't give a timetable.
China's State Electricity Regulatory Commission also on Monday declared a first-class emergency response status. The regulator required intensified monitoring of hydropower dams and to report immediately accidents and damages in power facilities. The commission said power facilities were affected in China's central and northwestern regions.
The quake is the second major natural disaster to hit China this year, following the snowstorm in the south of the country in January and February, during which 40GW generating capacity was disrupted at one stage because of a shortage of coal and damage to power facilities.
"We believe that the earthquake should have a much smaller impact on China's economy than the snowstorm earlier this year," said a Merrill Lynch report. "The earthquake affected a smaller area in China and the disaster itself has a short time span."
Meanwhile, the State Administration of Work Safety has ordered a shutdown of coal mines, chemical plants and oil and gas wells in the quake-stricken areas to ensure safety.
(Shanghai Daily May 14, 2008)