China's Long, Dark Summer

Zhang Yong, a bright, up-and-coming bureaucrat, thought his financial expertise and Ivy League education would prepare him well for the tricky issues he would face in his job as vice director of economic development in Taizhou, one of the fastest-growing cities in one of China's fastest-growing provinces, Zhejiang. Instead, he found himself tackling a problem that seemed more appropriate for a Third World backwater than a Chinese boomtown: a chronic shortage of electricity. Last year, Taizhou's economy grew at an astounding 15%, but all the gleaming new factories pushed electrical consumption up by 21%. Local power stations are able to provide...

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