Reports have surfaced that various fabs in China are being shut-down due to power shortage concerns. These giants include Intel, Toyota, Volkswagen, Texas Instruments, Foxconn and many more.
Currently, China is undergoing one of the most extreme heatwaves in its history. Over the globe during the past few years, due to global warming we have seen record high temperatures. China in this case is no exception due to its high Carbon footprint. Temperatures as high as 40* C are being witnessed.
High Power Consumption
Of course, with such high temperatures, more cooling solutions are required. As compared to 1990, China now uses 68 times more air conditioning. In August, temperatures of around 30*C have been witnessed up until recently. As the mercury expands, arid areas become prone to droughts.
Unfortunately, Sichuan, which is home to many of the abovementioned companies’ fabrication units depends heavily on hydropower which is generated via dams. If the water level becomes too low, load shedding may become the norm especially during peak hours.
Taking multiple measures simultaneously, every kilowatt-hour of electricity is hard-won
As a result, operations in the province (Sichuan) have been put on halt from Monday to Saturday. A whole week without much productivity may result in minor supply shortages.
Intel in Trouble
Intel has two fabrication units in the Chengdu city of Sichuan namely CD1 and CD6. It has been reported that these two units alone consumed a whopping 240 million kWh of energy in 2021 along with an additional 900,000 cubic meters of water. For comparison an average American household consumes just 10,715 kWh. If the fabs were running 24/7 for the entire year, the power consumption amounts up to 27,379,092 (27 Million) watts.
To combat such problems, effective measures were planned such as $1.6 billion for an additional plant in China. However, the White House intervened which led to the closure of this idea.
Will this impact Intel? In reality, Intel has many plants spread across the world. A shutdown of 1 week may hurt their profit and supply may be stalled for a short period of time. However, this will not lead to a butterfly effect hurting the upcoming Raptor Lake.