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Four things to know about China's power crunch

Heat wave cripples hydropower, with effects rippling across national economy

A farmer in a village outside Chongqing in southwestern China stands in the basin of a community reservoir on Aug. 20 after its retaining wall started to leak and hot weather and drought conditions accelerated the loss of water.   © AP

The record heat wave in Sichuan is drying up reservoirs and crippling hydropower stations -- the largest source of renewable energy -- causing a power crunch and forcing electricity cuts to businesses and households across the southwestern province of 84 million people.

Neighboring provinces and cities as far away as Shanghai that rely on electricity from Sichuan also feel the pain. The Bund waterfront in Shanghai turned off outdoor lighting and cut back on air conditioning. Tesla warned of disruptions in the supply chain for its Shanghai plant, and others such as Toyota Motor and Contemporary Amperex Technology, the world's biggest maker of batteries for electric vehicles, have shuttered factories.

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