CATL’s Battery Plant in Sichuan Stops Production Due to Power Brownouts

Recently, many areas in China were subject to high temperatures and intense heat which resulted in many places, such as Sichuan and Anhui, running short of electricity. To respond to the shortage, many povinces have had to start coordinating electricity consumption. Industrial enterprises are being asked to produce at different peaks, ensuring people’s livelihood and issuing proposals for saving electricity. On August 16, Jiemian News learned from local insiders that CATL’s factory in Yibin, Sichuan Province, stopped production due to power brownouts, and the duration of power brownouts rationing lasted from August 15 to August 20.

CATL’s Sichuan Yibin Factory is located in Sanjiang New District, Yibin City, Sichuan Province. It is one of the main lithium battery production bases in China. On August 16, the Yibin government announced the implementation plan of industrial enterprises for peak summer in 2022.

“Recently, Yibin has been subject to a second round of high temperatures and drought this year, and the power supply and demand situation is extremely tight.” According to the Yibin government, under the conditions that all the resources of all parties have been exhausted and in order to ensure the safety of the province’s power grid while continuing to supply the greatest number of people possible, all industrial power users (including white-listed key guarantee enterprises) mentioned in the orderly power consumption plan will be completely shut down (except for the necessary security load) from midnight on August 15 to midnight on August 20, and take high-temperature leave. CATL did not respond to the media about the power brownouts and production suspension of the factory.

CATL announced the construction of its new lithium battery factory in Yibin, Sichuan Province in 2019. The project was divided into six phases with an investment of over 30 billion yuan ($4.42 billion). The project investors were CATL Geely (Sichuan) Power Battery co. Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of CATL. In June 2021, the first phase of CATL’s Yibin Plant was officially put into production. At the launch ceremony of the project, Robin Zeng, chairman of CATL, said that after the completion of Yibin Plant, it will become the most important power battery production base in Southwest China. In December last year, CATL announced it would invest an additional 24 billion yuan to expand the Yibin Plant and complete the seventh to tenth phases.

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In addition, many local enterprises have been affected by the power brownouts. BOE, an OLED panel giant in China, also announced on August 16 that its subsidiaries in Sichuan received a notice from authorities that in order to ensure the safety of the power grid in the province and to continue offering power to residents, enterprises needed to make production adjustments. Up until now, the BOE has four semiconductor display production lines in Chengdu and Mianyang, Sichuan Province.