Per reporter Wu Linjing

After a long drought, Yunnan finally looked forward to a rainy day. Judging from the satellite cloud image, "hot and thirsty" is a portrayal of Yunnan in the past month, the rain is always around, and the red of the high temperature is getting deeper and deeper.

As a major traditional hydropower province in China, Yunnan ranks second in the country in terms of installed hydropower capacity. According to data from the National Bureau of Statistics, last year, Yunnan's hydropower generation capacity was 2716.3 billion kilowatt hours, accounting for about eighty percent of its total power generation. Uncle Cheng has previously analyzed that from the standpoint of "west-to-east power transmission", Yunnan is short of water and power rationing, and Guangdong, which is connected to it, is very anxious.

Yunnan itself is even more "unable to sit still" - the aluminum industry, especially the electrolytic aluminum that Yunnan has vigorously introduced in previous years, has the title of "power-swallowing behemoth", with high output value and more power consumption, and insufficient power will face a situation of reduced production.

According to Yunnan's goal of building a "green aluminum valley", by 2024, the output value of the province's green aluminum industry chain will reach about 3500 billion yuan, which is about 2022/1 of Yunnan's annual GDP in 8. Among the twelve key industries in Yunnan that promote the construction of an industrial strong province, the output value target of the aluminum industry is second only to modern agriculture with plateau characteristics.

When the "hydropower province" encountered the crisis of water shortage and power rationing, the road of transforming resource advantages into economic trends added bumps.

The original intention: to absorb abandoned hydropower

Ten years ago, Yunnan did industrial planning, would not have taken aluminum so seriously. According to data released by the Yunnan Provincial Commission of Industry and Information Technology, there were only 2010 electrolytic aluminum manufacturers in the province in 7, with a total production capacity of 92,6 tons per year.

The turning point began in 2016, the country promoted the structural reform of the aluminum smelting industry, on the one hand, eliminating backward production capacity, on the other hand, to green transformation.

In life production, the demand for aluminum is huge, from cans and milk packaging to aircraft skins and building profiles. But the production of aluminum is an energy-intensive process - every ton of aluminum produced requires about 13000,<> kWh of electricity.

Uncle Cheng checked that Yunnan's abandoned water power reached an all-time high of 315.240 billion kilowatt-hours that year. Converted into aluminum, the production is equivalent to <>.<> million tons.

One is a large power consumer, the other is a large power abandoner, the combination of the two has opened up a new idea for Yunnan's development of industry - the introduction of electrolytic aluminum enterprises, local consumption of rich hydropower. In 2017, Yunnan aimed at the pain points of electricity costs in the electrolytic aluminum industry and threw an olive branch to enterprises with preferential electricity prices.

From the above figure, in recent years, the new production capacity of the national electrolytic aluminum industry has "moved north aluminum to the south, east aluminum to the west", from Shandong, Henan and other coal power provinces to Yunnan, Guangxi and other green power provinces. The latter two provinces have undertaken 3/4 of the country's new production capacity, becoming one of the main variables affecting the domestic supply of electrolytic aluminum.

For the western region, the layout of the aluminum industry is also conducive to the formation of new economic pillars. Mr. Zheng, an analyst in the aluminum industry of Zhuochuang Information, analyzed that according to the current aluminum price of 1,84 yuan / ton, the profit per ton is more than 1000,<> yuan, and the local profits and taxes paid by electrolytic aluminum enterprises are considerable.

Mr. Zheng introduced that before the large-scale transfer of production capacity, Yunnan has about 200 million tons / year of aluminum production, in recent years the local new production of more than 300 million tons of compliance capacity, according to the long-term planning, if can reach production, Yunnan's future aluminum production will surpass Shandong, Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, becoming the country's largest electrolytic aluminum production base.

Yunnan's capacity planning is also the same, by the end of the "1000th Five-Year Plan" period, the province's electrolytic aluminum production capacity will move towards <> million tons.

Twists and turns: too much capacity to shift

Production capacity and output value are ready to rise, but the road ahead is not smooth.

Yang Hongbo, former director of the Yunnan Provincial Development and Reform Commission, has publicly stated that he will "come up with preferential conditions that can be PK in the country", of which the core policy is to give the new electrolytic aluminum industry a preferential electricity price of 0.25 yuan / kWh, which is very attractive in the industry.

Mr. Zheng mentioned that the average electricity cost of the electrolytic aluminum industry is more than 0.3 yuan / kWh, and the electricity cost accounts for 30-40% of the enterprise. It is no exaggeration to say that a penny can determine the life and death of a business.

As a result, Yunnan just gave a special preferential electricity price plan in 2018, and in 2021, the state began to strictly control high-energy-consuming and high-emission projects. According to the requirements of the National Development and Reform Commission, Yunnan will "immediately cancel the preferential electricity price policy that has been implemented" and switch to a tiered electricity price policy. Some industry insiders said that some electrolytic aluminum enterprises that put into production late "have not enjoyed preferential electricity prices for one day".

The preferential electricity price is "gone", on the one hand, the real threat is that the electricity is "gone".

During this period, Mr. Zheng would click on the weather forecast every day to see the situation across the country, "Like Guangxi, Guizhou, Sichuan, around the provinces around Yunnan, they have experienced relatively heavy rainfall in the past month." Only Yunnan, only one day appeared 'dark blue', or in a very small part of the southeast, if the rest of the province rainfall, it is 10~20 mm. ”

"Four of the world's top ten hydropower stations are in Yunnan", and Yunnan hydropower accounts for nearly eighty percent. Encountering high temperatures and lack of water, the "hydropower province" has become a person who is "difficult to cook without rice".

Since 2021, Yunnan's electrolytic aluminum production capacity has begun to reduce production due to the dry water supply and dual control of energy consumption. Since September 2022, electrolytic aluminum companies have received news of power cuts three times. The latest round of enterprises that were required to "reduce the load of electricity" has expanded from electrolytic aluminum enterprises to other energy-consuming enterprises such as silicon, phosphorus and zinc.

When these enterprises were originally laid out in Yunnan, they had hydropower during the 7-month flood period and thermal power during the 5-month dry period. However, in the face of abnormal global climate, even the electricity during the abundant water period cannot be guaranteed 100%. From a climate point of view, this year is likely to be another "El Niño" year, with water shortages in Yunnan affecting power generation, and the surge in electricity consumption in Guangdong and other places intensifying the pressure on external power transmission.

In addition to weather reasons, the industry also analyzed that the frequent power cuts are also related to the introduction of a large number of energy-consuming enterprises in Yunnan in recent years. "In the past two years, there have been too many energy-intensive industries that have been concentrated in Yunnan, and the local area cannot provide sufficient electricity for a while, so this has led to the current situation of power rationing." Mr. Zheng said.

Seeing that the power cannot be stabilized, electrolytic aluminum companies will not rush to resume production because of one or two moderate rains and heavy rains, after all, the reservoir water storage has not ushered in a significant recovery. "Like electrolytic aluminum grooves, the cost of a time is more than 10,<> yuan, how can there be hundreds of electrolyzers in a factory." The cost is not cheap, and the electrolyzer cannot be easily started and stopped. At present, the company is not sure whether it will be able to resume production in the future. ”

According to data, in 2022, affected by power restrictions and production restrictions, Yunnan has a total of more than 800 million tons of electrolytic aluminum compliance capacity, but the output is only about 430.2023 million tons. According to the Shanxi Securities Research Report, due to drought and insufficient hydropower supply in 110, Yungui has reduced the production of electrolytic aluminum by about <>.<> million tons.

Expectations: Enhance industrial resilience

After years of transfer and adjustment, the country's electrolytic aluminum production capacity has undergone structural changes, Yunnan has been vigorously deploying the electrolytic aluminum industry for nearly 8 years, and the goal of "3500 billion yuan of output value and 1000 million tons of production capacity" is still hanging on the head... There is no turning back when opening the bow, and the twists and turns always have to be solved.

In Mr. Zheng's view, unless there is a big change in aluminum prices, in a short period of time, the distribution of production capacity should be relatively stable, "the electrolytic aluminum production capacity transferred to Yunnan, most of the current production time is no more than five years, many are still advanced production capacity, to re-transfer them to other green power provinces, the cost is too high."

The high energy consumption scale introduced in the past has become a foregone conclusion, and while promoting technological transformation and consumption reduction, it is also necessary to ensure the stability and continuity of electricity, and begin to solve the problem of abnormal water abundances and shortage during dry periods.

To "quench the thirst" of the industry, in the "List of Major Provincial Projects and "Top Priorities" Projects in Yunnan Province in 2023, there are a total of 173 key projects in the "energy industry". Among them, 3 pumped storage projects, 27 wind farms, 127 photovoltaic projects and supporting facilities will be built.

Mr. Zheng also mentioned that Yunnan has invested in some water conservancy projects, and is also accelerating the construction of power sources suitable for the local environment, such as wind power, photovoltaic, and solar energy, to solve the problem of power shortage. Companies are also moving forward with some distributed power projects. For example, on April 4, Yunnan held a distributed photovoltaic DC industry innovation and development conference, at which it was announced that photovoltaic power generation DC access electrolytic aluminum production and electricity consumption breakthrough.

In addition, how to keep and develop the attracted capacity projects also requires local attention to coordinating the upstream and downstream development of the industrial chain.

Summarizing the industrial cultivation experience of "old" electrolytic aluminum provinces such as Shandong and Henan, it is all alumina, electrolytic aluminum, aluminum and other industrial chains go hand in hand. However, in contrast, Yunnan, in 2021, its electrolytic aluminum output was 331.57 million tons, and the aluminum output was only <>,<> tons, which means that the high-energy-consuming link has been transferred to Yunnan, but the high-value-added link is still outside the province.

On the basis of ensuring the stability of energy supply, consideration should be given to enhancing the supply capacity of upstream resources and consumption capacity of the downstream market, comprehensively considering the development of all factors of the industry, and bringing together high value-added links, so that these industries can enhance the resilience to resist risks. (Daily Economic News)