BEIJING, Jan. 12 -- China may be forced to shut 11 percent of power generators connected to the nation's main grid because of coal shortages as freezing weather spurs demand and snow snarls transport, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.
Coal stockpiles at 598 power plants connected to China State Grid Corp.'s network have fallen to just nine days' worth of supplies, Xinhua reported, citing the National Power Dispatch and Communication Center. Coal stockpiles at 205 power plants are enough for seven days, according to the report.
Supplies for 11 percent of power plants connected to China State Grid's network have fallen to less than three days' worth and could be shut at "any time," Xinhua reported.
Freezing temperatures and snowfall have forced Beijing, Shanghai, and other regions of China to limit gas and electricity use to guarantee power needed for heating. The Chinese capital was hit by the heaviest snow in almost six decades earlier this month, as temperatures fell to the lowest since 1971.
Guangdong province, the nation's manufacturing hub, plans to restart small power units fueled by natural gas and diesel to mitigate electricity supply shortage, Xinhua said, citing people it didn't identify. Guangdong has been eliminating these small thermal power units to improve efficiency since 2008, it said.
Hanzhou city in eastern China's Zhejiang province has had a natural gas supply shortage of as much as 300,000 cubic meters since last week on low temperatures, Xinhua said today, citing the local gas company. The shortage of the fuel will worsen as temperatures fall further, it said.
Snowfall is forecast today for the southwestern provinces of Guizhou and Yunnan, with snowy and rainy weather in other parts of southern China subsiding, the China Meteorological Administration said today in an e-mailed statement. Temperatures in parts of northern and eastern China may fall by as much as 8 degrees Celsius today, the weather bureau said.
Beijing is forecast to be sunny today with temperatures as low as minus-15 degrees Celsius, the bureau said. Shanghai is expected to be partly cloudy with temperatures falling to as low as minus-2 degrees Celsius, according to the weather bureau.