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LCQ18: Offshore wind farm

     Following is a question by Hon Mrs Regina Ip and a written reply by the Secretary for the Environment, Mr Edward Yau, in the Legislative Council today (January 20):


    It has been reported that the CLP Power Hong Kong Limited (CLP) plans to construct an offshore wind farm, and that after CLP has adopted wind power for generating electricity, its annual reduction in carbon dioxide emission is expected to reach 300,000 tons, thereby raising the percentage of renewable energy used in power generation in Hong Kong to 1%.  The generation capacity of the wind farm, which will account for about 1% to 2% of CLP's overall capacity, is sufficient to supply power to 80,000 households.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a)  given that there are research data which show that the actual capacity factor of wind farms in Europe in the past five years was below 21%, but the cost was 66% higher and the reduction in carbon emission was 40% less than expected, and that there was obvious limitation of wind power for generating electricity, whether the Government has, on the basis of Hong Kong's actual geographical environment and wind power resources, thoroughly verified the data on the reduction of carbon dioxide emission and economic benefits of the proposed wind farm mentioned in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report submitted by CLP for the said wind farm project; if it has, of its justifications for approving the EIA report;

(b)  of the actual serviceable life span of the aforesaid wind farm, as well as details of the Government's consideration of the environmental protection and economic benefits of the project when it approved the project's EIA report; and

(c)  whether the Government has examined relevant options to help members of the public cope with the burden of increase in electricity tariff on them resulting from the use of wind power for electricity generation?



     The selected site for the wind farm proposed by the CLP Power Hong Kong Limited (CLP Power) is located approximately 9 km east of Clearwater Bay peninsula and 5 km east of South Ninepin Island within the southeastern waters of Hong Kong.  The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), which does not cover the economic benefits of the project, mainly aims to assess the potential environmental impact of the construction and operation of the wind farm and recommend practicable mitigation measures.  The EIA Ordinance and the Technical Memorandum on EIA Process have already set out various objective statutory standards and the relevant authorities.  After examining the EIA report and carefully considering the views of the Advisory Council on the Environment and public opinions collected during the public inspection period, the Environmental Protection Department and the relevant authorities confirmed that the report and the EIA findings obtained in accordance with assessment methods adopted in advanced regions complied with the statutory requirements and approved the EIA report in August 2009.  The approval of the EIA report only indicated compliance with the regulations and requirements under the EIA Ordinance.  The construction works can commence only if it fulfills all relevant laws and obtains the necessary approvals.

     Under the Scheme of Control Agreement concluded between the Government and CLP Power, CLP Power has to submit the investment proposal on its wind farm project to the Government for approval.  So far, the Environment Bureau has not received relevant proposal.  Upon receiving the investment proposal, the Government will examine critically the project in various aspects, including renewable energy policy, environmental benefits, impact on electricity tariff, economic benefits and technical factors, to ensure a balance of overall interests of the society in the decision.  It is our objective to promote wider use of renewable energy while protecting consumer interests.

Ends/Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Issued at HKT 12:16


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