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Opinion
Anjani Trivedi

China Only Has the Energy For One Crisis at a Time

It’s unclear whether Beijing has the appetite for much more pain as the impact of power shortages forces policy makers to rethink the speed of the nation’s energy transition. 

Has Beijing bitten off more than it can chew?

Has Beijing bitten off more than it can chew?

Photographer: Stringer/AFP/Getty Images

As a  worsening power shortage ripples through China Inc., with provinces asking high-energy industries to curtail usage, semiconductor machinery makers and manufacturers along the electric-vehicle supply chain have had to shutter production. That the outages are now hitting such key sectors is worrying.

These areas are major priorities for Beijing and underpin its economic blueprint released earlier this year. If state planners can’t balance their industrial ambitions with their focus on lowering energy consumption and carbon emissions — also a part of the latest Five-Year Plan — it’s worth wondering how far the power crisis could go.