Southern China Sizzles in High Temperatures, Stressing Power Grids

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BEIJING, China (Reuters) – In the coming days, southern China will be engulfed in scorching temperatures and strong convection thunderstorms. The persistently hot weather is driving up electricity demand, putting pressure on power grids.

National forecasters said that temperatures will reach more than 35C (95F) in most parts of southern China over the next three to four days. In some areas, temperatures may even exceed 40C.

China, like many other parts of Asia in recent weeks, has experienced extreme heat ahead of the summer season in the northern hemisphere. Shanghai experienced its hottest May day in over 100 years on Monday. The south's provinces were sweltering in scorching heat and the power grids were tested as air conditioning demand spiked from home, industrial, and commercial users.

In recent days, the power load in major manufacturing hubs of the south, including Guangdong, has reached historic highs. China Southern Power Grid is one of two grid operators in China, and its output hit 222 million Kilowatts. This was close to historical records. On May 30, the power load in the provincial capital, Guangzhou, grew to 21 million kW. This is an increase of more than 20% compared to a year ago.

According to reports in state media, Hainan's power load has recently surpassed 7 million kW, and Guangxi's record-breaking highs have been reaffirmed not just once but twice. Further increases are expected in the coming days in other provinces in the south, including Yunnan, Guizhou, and Yunnan.

Extreme heat in China will force authorities to restrict power usage during the summer of 2022. The hydropower production, which is crucial in provinces like Sichuan and other giants, was also affected by the prolonged drought conditions.

Convectional weather has caused havoc across central China, with prolonged downpours and even a hailstorm destroying the wheat harvest. Henan, also known as China's granary, is expected to experience moderate to heavy rainfall until at least June 4th.