Power cuts in Zhejiang, Hunan turn off the streetlights after China’s boycott of Australian coal hit its economy

China’s boycott of Australian coal imports has hurt many domestic industries. In order to save coal, zhejiang and Hunan provinces have recently imposed restrictions, causing small businesses and workshops in Yiwu to suspend production and hunan’s National Development and Reform Commission to order traffic lights and street lamps to be turned off at night. Academics argue that if Australia were to stop supplying Iron ore to China altogether, the consequences for China would be unimaginable.

The trade war between China and Australia has spilled over into the coal sector, and it’s not just Australia’s coal industry that’s being hit hard.

Turn off landscape lighting and street lighting in hunan province

The provincial development and Reform Commission has issued an emergency notice on the orderly power consumption of the province in 2020, saying that the province’s maximum load has reached 30.93 million kilowatts, up 14.1 percent year on year and surpassing the winter record, and the situation is expected to continue until around the Spring Festival next year.

According to the notice, the period of daily power consumption is 10:30 to 12:00 and 16:30-20:30, and the city landscape lighting and street lamps will be turned off, while the power consumption of party and government offices will be shut down on weekends. However, the authorities did not specify the reason for the blackout.

According to “cross-border rhino”, a WeChat official account, most of zhejiang’s foreign-trade factories have received notices about power cuts and production restrictions, which were uploaded online by a supplier in qianku town, wenzhou. The notice shows: according to the county energy “double control”, “” reduced coal work conference spirit, to the whole town in energy intensive and low output value of the enterprise will be in December 15 to December 31, orderly electricity, power supply departments during this period will be 24 hours monitoring situation of enterprise production, such as have found that don’t put into production in accordance with the provisions of, 20 days of power will be forced to stop production.

One netizen posted on Tuesday night that he received a message from his boss in Yiwu, Zhejiang province, saying that the shipment could not be made in time because power cuts and blackouts had started in Yiwu. The reason allegedly given by the authorities was energy conservation. Small businesses and workshops in Yiwu have been cut off.

Power cuts under the economic and people’s livelihood hit

Jiang, the head of a trading company, told THE BBC on Wednesday that she believes the real reason behind the restrictions is the government’s boycott of Australian coal imports. She said the measures had not only caused losses to businesses, but also affected the lives of residents.

In Zhejiang, power brownouts are now for all enterprises and public institutions, said Ms. Jiang. Zhejiang is now very cold, the indoor temperature to 3 degrees below the air conditioning can be turned on, that is, hot air conditioning. At present, Shanghai does not have such restrictions. Probably because of the Australian coal thing. Turning on air conditioners is not a big energy consumption either, because Chinese people don’t use hot air conditioners much at home, especially in winter, they all wear down jackets at home and don’t need to turn on air conditioners if there is heating.

Australia’s coal is far more efficient than China’s

After China stopped buying coal from Australia in the fourth quarter, China held a coal procurement meeting with Indonesia on November 25 to finalize the purchase of nearly $1.5 billion worth of thermal coal from Indonesia next year in an attempt to make up for the shortfall in demand from Australia’s coal purchases.

“He (the government) won’t give you a direct reason,” Jiang told THE BBC. “It’s definitely not peak season.” If you use Australian coal to generate electricity, it uses a lot less energy, but if you buy Indonesian coal, it produces a lot less electricity per ton.

Australia’s iron ore supply will be Australia’s ace in the hole

Australia is the main source of China’s coal imports.

Song, a retired scholar at the Beijing Iron and Steel Research Institute, told THE BBC that Chinese companies are in great demand for Australia and Canada’s main coking coal and coal for power generation.

“China restricts all coal imports from Australia,” Mr. Song said. “But for the first five years, the first ten years, China had a surplus of generating capacity, and now I don’t know why it’s suddenly running out of power.”

Mr Song believes Australia has countermeasures against China, but they have not yet started.

Australia has one of its best counterweapons, Mr. Soong said, and that is a cutoff of Chinese iron ore. China now imports more than a billion tonnes of iron ore a year, from Brazil, Australia and, to a lesser degree, South Africa. If Australia and Brazil unite and iron ore supply is cut off, all Chinese steel mills will immediately stop production. So it is very foolish of you to restrict the import of domestic coal.

Mr Song said overseas iron ore was as important to Chinese steel companies as semiconductor chips and would affect the country’s steelmaking industry, which includes aircraft and cars as well as metal products such as civilian washing machines and microwaves.

I wonder what the leader thinks?

According to the head of a foreign trade factory in Yiwu, the whole foreign trade industry is worried about logistics. Some factories have already piled up their goods and cannot be shipped out. Shipping, rail and express delivery are facing delays and congestion is very serious.

‘In some cities in Zhejiang and Hunan, traffic lights were closed after midnight,’ wrote one mobile user.

‘On the one hand, a large number of Australian coal cargo ships are berthing at the ports and not allowed to go through customs, while on the other hand, many areas are short of coal and need power cuts and power cuts,’ the netizen said.

This netizen said, since there is such a shortage of coal, let Australia import coal. Anyway, this bit of sanctions does not matter to Australia. Imported iron ore has already recovered these losses, and imported Australian coal can alleviate the urgent need of domestic coal-fired power plants.