South China's Guangdong Province is in the grips of a power shortage.
"The shortage surpassed 4,000 megawatts at its peak in April. We had originally expected only 2,550 to 3,690 megawatts," said Yang Xinli, director of the Guangdong economy and trade commission's power resources division.
"The case is even more serious in the boomtowns of the Pearl River Delta region."
The official said the situation is so serious in Guangzhou that several red alerts had been issued since early this month. Many businesses in the city's key industrial zones have had to suspend production to ease the pressure on the city's power system.
The situation is the same in other cities in the delta, Yang said, adding that from April to June, the city of Foshan would probably experience a shortage of 800 megawatts, and Shenzhen a shortage of 1,000 megawatts.
The official attributed the power shortage to delays in the operation of several power-generating stations, inadequate rainfall, a gas shortage, provincial efforts to shut down small power plants to curb pollution and the rapid pace of economic development.
Yang said his division was working with the China Southern Power Grid Company to come up with measures to deal with the power shortage.
Huang Jianjun, a senior executive with Guangdong Power Grid Corp, the local branch of China Southern Power Grid, said the company's head office had been working to overcome the shortfall in Guangdong by importing energy from Yunnan, Guizhou and Guangxi. The company has diverted 1.07 gigawatts since early this month, 1,030 megawatts more than a year ago.
Huang said China Southern Power Grid is in talks with the State Power Grid to buy power generated at the latter's Three Gorges project. The company will continue to buy power from Hong Kong, as well.
"Guangdong's power supply will improve starting this year," he said. "Several new massive power-generation projects will become operational in the province, and the amount of power drawn from the nation's western regions will increase."
Power-generating stations with a combined capacity of 2,970 megawatts recently went into operation, and several other projects with a combined capacity of 12,000 megawatts will become operational in the province later this year, he said.
(China Daily May 29, 2007)