China to shut down for the Olympics

12 February 2008

[PR Newswire, 11 February] China is preparing to shut down large swathes of its heavy manufacturing and coal-fired power stations for up to 54 days this summer, in a bid to clean up host cities for the Olympic Games. According to reports citing information from Platts, government officials have "quietly" informed major coal-fired power stations, steel mills and other heavy polluters that a broad shut-down order will be issued 30 days before the games begin on 8 August. The shutdowns are likely to happen in and near Beijing and co-host Shenyang City, and will last until the Olympics end on 24 August. As well as electricity generation and steel mills, cement plants, iron ore production and paper-making factories are likely to be affected. Such closures could have a substantial impact on China's economy, with almost 13 gigawatts (GW) of electricity capacity shut down. China is expected to cope by maximizing nuclear power production, gas-fired and oil-fired power plants. The country is already reported to be running at an electricity generation deficit of between 42 and 69 GW.