China’s Electricity Problem

China’s Electricity Problem

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Writing by Sam Denby and Tristan Purdy
Editing by Alexander Williard
Animation led by Josh Sherrington
Sound by Graham Haerther
Thumbnail by Simon Buckmaster

References
[1] https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/EG.USE.ELEC.KH.PC?most_recent_value_desc=true
[2] https://www.iea.org/countries/united-states; https://www.iea.org/regions/europe; https://www.iea.org/countries/china
[3] https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-what-does-chinas-coal-push-mean-for-its-climate-goals/
[4] https://www.worldscientific.com/doi/pdf/10.1142/S2377740018500112
[5] https://unfccc.int/news/china-meets-2020-carbon-target-three-years-ahead-of-schedule
[6] https://a9w7k6q9.stackpathcdn.com/wpcms/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/OEF-131.pdf
[7] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-06-06/china-s-renewable-energy-fleet-is-growing-too-fast-for-its-grid-l425v47z
[8] https://chinadialogue.net/en/energy/untangling-the-crossed-wires-of-chinas-super-grid/?amp

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49 Responses

  1. Naomi says:

    We’re an importer of tools. One of our factories delayed delivery by nearly two months – first because of covid lockdowns, then because of power cuts. They sent me a photo of four guys in an office at their PC’s with a giant block of ice between them with a fan blowing on it.

    • Merlen Schriefer says:

      @Mark Mark Now think about how much easier it would be if the truth had not been suppressed by the authorities. maybe the problem lies there. If truth were permitted to shine evil westerners could not shape the narrative.

    • Repentance Faith says:

      Consider where your soul will spend eternity, heaven or hell. You don’t want to end up in hell because you rejected the Sacrifice Jesus has made all who repent and turn to him by faith. We are all guilty of sin. We lie, steal and look with lust in our hearts. We are all Guilty before a Holy and Righteous God. GOD is not just all loving and overlook your sin. He is loving but sin He will Judge because He is Perfectly good. The Good news is God the Father sent His Son Jesus Christ who was perfectly Holy to pay the penalty for your and my sin out of Love for us. We can’t keep the Law we break most all commandments. But Jesus fulfilled ALL by his perfect thoughts, words, deeds and motives for us because we could not. Jesus loved all humans and God the Father perfectly. Turn, repent of your sin and confess Your thankfulness for what Jesus did for you. Put your faith in the perfection and the righteousness of Christ. Jesus was raised from death to give you new life; death has been defeated. Out of love and grace eternal life is promised to those who have faith. /,./.,./,/,/.

    • The Uyghur Django says:

      @EngineeringVision
      Thankfully the ROC has never been under the control of the CCP.

      Never allow anyone to falsely use the term “Reunification”. Taiwan is the legitimate successor of the Chinese government.

    • John Drake says:

      Ha, yep

    • laser14344 says:

      @Allawa Phantom my guess is harbor freight chinesium alloy.

  2. nasonguy says:

    1.1MV DC transmission lines?!?! That deserves a 45 minute video all on it’s own.

    • Michael Lenczewski says:

      @Robert Lomax what? It’s called an inverter. Then you step down through normal transformers. Switched mode power supplies can be over 95% efficient. What did Tesla figure out?

    • Michael Lenczewski says:

      At extremely high voltage, DC is more efficient transport. At lower voltages, AC is more efficient.

    • Kelly Moses says:

      @Robert Lomax DC is actually more efficient over very long distances.

    • Robert Lomax says:

      @Niagara Mike Another way to correct phase shift is with some actual rotating machinery. May have to look in a museum for examples today.

    • Niagara Mike says:

      @Bill Kong Not really, inductance does not directly contribute to significant energy loss in transmission. The majority of loss is resistive. Induction causes phase shift and voltage drop on long circuits. Many distribution system would install and utilise capacitor banks to correct the power factor (induction vs capacitance) and correct the voltage to the customer or at least allow the transformer tapchangers to be in a more useful range.

  3. willtree8 says:

    This was such an impressive video to watch, 20 minutes of densely packed information but in a format where every sentence served a purpose.
    The data was combined with sharp, insightful analysis that made it easy for those with no knowledge to understand and appreciate what they’re being told.

    It’s not even an especially interesting topic but after watching this, it feels interesting, important and I want to know more. Wendover and their sister channels have come so far recently.

    • Meepersa says:

      @No_guard_X Neoliberal is neither new nor liberal. It’s generally seen as hyper conservatism.

    • Meepersa says:

      @Buddy Lee M8. The evidence doesn’t back you up here. CO2 levels are increasing, solar activity has been on the decline, the Melankovich (might be misspelled) cycle should see a decrease in CO2 levels (and they’re consistent across the ice core samples we have). Simply put, most if not every other data point(s) we could look at as a possible explanation for CO2 increasing says it shouldn’t be, so what do we conclude? Burning a thing containing carbon releases CO2, that’s what the combustion reaction does. Humans and at least our most recent evolutionary ancestor have been burning things since we’ve been around. We started burning a heck of a lot more things during the Industrial Revolution. So, whatcha got? What data point provides another possible explanation for increased CO2 levels? I don’t even need you to falsify it, just what shows an effect that would be increasing CO2 levels that isn’t humans.

    • No_guard_X says:

      oh and he keeps adding snark and ad hominems against china lol.
      when the usa were producing everything in country the smog was horrendous as well, same with london,
      except the us and uk now shifted all their products to china

    • No_guard_X says:

      @Bullfrog it was more neo conservative and neo liberal propaganda,
      they have both conservative and liberal view points,

    • Usama SalmanJ says:

      Exactly

  4. Eragonawesome says:

    You should totally do a whole video on the economics and ethics of services like Hello Fresh and whether they really live up to the ad reads in terms of claimed benefits

    • Alexander McKay says:

      It looks like Hello Fresh is going under. They’re reducing employees and it looks bad. Post COVID and with inflation the cost structure is too hard to swallow.

    • Spencer Kraisler says:

      I used to sub to hello fresh. It’s not bad. Maybe a bit pricey but I also get the convenience of not going out to buy the groceries. I stopped cause idk, just decided to make sandwiches instead. Might re-sub in the future.

    • Tinil0 says:

      It’s definitely a huge benefit to me, but I am disabled and have difficulty cooking every single meal for myself. So Hello Fresh itself doesn’t help, but I have used other pre-cooked meal services that I just heat up. It’s been a massive increase in quality of life since not having enough spoons to cook frequently meant eating out or highly processed food. It’s expensive as hell, but shockingly not as much as I expected now that inflation has suplexed us and grocery prices are up.

      I don’t think is a “one size fits all” judgment on the food delivery services, whether they are worth it or not depends highly on your own unique circumstances.

    • Andrew Arnold says:

      It’s not THAT unbelievable. It’s cheaper and better for the environment to buy food in bulk, and where some food may go to waste if made for one person, if it’s distributed and all used, it’s not hard to imagine that there’s little waste involved.

      I doubt it’s THAT much better, but through the economy of scale, it likely is better.

    • Martinho says:

      Not to mention their love for union busting!!

  5. Wingin’ It! Paul Lucas says:

    I have never noticed that China is a (kinda) similar shape to the continental USA before!

  6. The Rouge Chipmunk says:

    Perfect video to why being an HVAC tech is a great job, money only increases with skill plus job security.

    • Harmz says:

      @Vincero Alpha Valid points, but technology in generally speaking allows for more of the burden to be taken off from humans, both physically and also financially (speaking from the point of Businesses). If you can have a robot do the work of 5 people but only requires 1 to troubleshoot it, it makes financial and logistical sense to go the tech route.

      Again, my argument above is hindered on a future that does not exist, yet. Also, my digital toilet as you’ve called it (lol i like it) will first inevitably get its start commercially, the first phones, cars, computers all started in the commercial/rich people market. Soon, after the technology was better and cheaper to produce all those things became accessible for the common person. I feel digital toilets and technologies surrounding trades will also make their start in this manner. To answer your question about the ‘slow down’ in tech, you’re absolutely right. The same scale of innovations that happened in the 2000’s will not occur for some time. However, this does not mean useful innovation cannot be created in the near future. It was 2008 when the first Tesla roadster car was produced, that’s not too long ago and now we’re at a stage where their fastest car runs circles around their first roadster. In the case of Apple, this is done on purpose, why over-innovate when you can slightly innovate and stil reap the $$? I believe this is more a business plan as opposed to a ‘tech lag’ or slow advancement,

      Also, no need to apologize, you didn’t seem rude or angry at me in general, im not bothered.

    • Vincero Alpha says:

      @BINARYGOD way to not add to the discussion

    • Vincero Alpha says:

      @Future Commentary not really, those same offices will still be occupied because they need to make money for the landlords. Also, keep in mind that a good number of those offices are being converted into co-ops, shared workspaces and smaller offices, just to name a few.

    • Vincero Alpha says:

      @Harmz I’m sorry if I come off as rude, it’s a pet peeve of mine when people are blinded by the “possibility “ of tomorrow rather dealing with the reality of today. Yes both are needed, yes CS are vital specialists and and will have some security for the future, but I have to remind you, HARDWARE HAS ITS LIMITS. I’m not sure how old you are but when the first gen iPhone first came out, it LITERALLY changed the way we live in and interact with the world. However, since then there has been no innovations of that magnitude since. The iPhone was only available to really take advantage of the infrastructure built up in previous decades from the internet and land line phones. The rudimentary servers and mobile towers were the foundation for building the network we take for granted on everyday. Every upgrade to a new network has needed the help of tradesmen to upgrade the network to handle more complex data systems. Not to mention the support needed to keep it running smoothly almost 24/7.
      But because innovation in hardware has lagged behind software development so much, there has been a serious glut of pseudo-innovations to distract people from noticing this problem. As a result most things aren’t economically viable or even possible at this stage. Why would a contracting company buy an expensive, complex yet delicate machine to do a task that one or two people can do for half the cost and less headache. Keep in mind that machine will be subjected to the elements, mud, damage and fuel consumption that again, to capable humans are easily able to do. It’s this unhealthy obsession toward “everything has to be technology because it’s the future” that I hate. There are a lot of problems that can be solved with wasting so much time and resources on novelty items that really don’t make sense for a lot of people. Case in point your toilet example, yes it’s great and in certain situations it’s definitely a step forward, but for the average person, why would they need a digital toilet that costs 3 times as much vs a regular one if they both do the same essential job? That’s why they’re a novelty and haven’t taken off, and that’s one of the better “vaporware” out there. Yes we should be continually innovating but it has to be genuine innovation and not a better camera on your phone and dynamic lighting. Again sorry if I seem angry but it seems that we’re getting less and less results from technology and almost no one is asking why.

    • The Rouge Chipmunk says:

      @Harmz yea fuck a white collar job, id rather us my hands.

  7. Lauren Conrad says:

    I spent a week in August in Florida where my grandmothers took me out to eat every night. You will not find a building without AC. In those months, you need to wear a t-shirt and carry a sweatshirt because you’ll be inside your car with the AC blasting, then in 100 degree weather for 2 seconds before entering a restaurant where the AC makes it freezing. lol

  8. ZDatsunBoy says:

    You don’t want high voltage lines working at 100%. If lines are at their limit shifting load and maintaining them becomes very difficult. Especially in the hotter months.

    • dalazyworf says:

      Also the electricity running through the lines generates heat and in hotter climates, those lines can get extremely hot. Further disrupting power distribution.

    • TheKlaun9 says:

      I have no idea about line maintenance, but the video implied 60% was low. Is that incorrect? I don’t remember it suggesting 100%. Please let me know

  9. Austin Mitchell says:

    I thought I read somewhere that China had plans to drastically expand it’s nuclear energy capabilities; I’m surprised there wasn’t much discussion about that.

    • RC Brascan says:

      It is true, China developed a new type of nuclear reactor that is smaller, safer and generates little radioactive waste and over 200 of them are being developed and built with most coming online in the next decade. This new reactor is also currently being built for the Belt & Road countries.

      When it comes to China, Wendover Productions tend to pick data that matches its narrative so anything that does not fit is not included.

  10. Hhydar says:

    ‘All eyes are on China..’ yes but we should also consider the fact that industrial footprint there is not just attached to local consumption but companies from all over the world manufacture their products in China. These companies and their country of origin should also be held responsible for these emissions. Just bcoz we keep our own home clean by polluting another country doesn’t make us less responsible. Its a collective effort to save the only planet we have.

    • lemster101 says:

      Agreed, it was disappointing to hear the negative undertone throughout the video. Yeah, China is far from perfect, in fact they flat out suck in a lot of areas, but outsourcing all your manufacturing to them because and then saying “you pollute too much” feels very easy to do. It’s not like the US requires Apple for example to only use manufacturers that use renewable energy.

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