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LCQ14: The development in using renewable energy to generate electricity

     Following is a question by the Hon Kam Nai-wai and a written reply by the Secretary for the Environment, Mr Edward Yau, at the Legislative Council meeting today (April 21):


     Regarding the development in using renewable energy to generate electricity, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) whether it knows the progress of the development of using wind power to generate electricity by the two power companies, of the numbers and locations of the wind power generation facilities of the two power companies as well as their construction costs and serviceable life spans, the percentage of wind power-generated electricity in the total amount of electricity generated in Hong Kong, and the impact of using wind power to generate electricity on electricity generation costs and electricity tariffs;

(b) given that in the First Sustainable Development Strategy for Hong Kong released in 2005, the Government set the target of having between 1% and 2% of Hong Kong's total electricity supply met by power generated from renewable sources by the year 2012, of the latest progress in meeting the target; if the progress is satisfactory, whether it will consider setting a higher target; if the progress is unsatisfactory, whether it will lower the target;

(c) apart from developing wind power to generate electricity, whether it had, in the past three years, further studied the development of other renewable energy sources and implemented development plans; if it had, of the details and the relevant progress;

(d) whether it will bear the costs for the construction of wind power generation facilities; if it will, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

(e) whether it has ascertained if the two power companies will use the construction of wind power generation facilities as a justification for adjusting electricity tariffs; if electricity tariffs will rise as a result, what the Government's solution is?



(a) & (e) In 2009, the total installed generation capacity of the CLP Power Hong Kong Limited (CLP Power) was 8,888 megawatt (MW) while that of the Hongkong Electric Company Limited (HEC) was 3,756 MW.  Under the Scheme of Control Agreement (SCA) concluded between the Government and the two power companies, the two power companies have to submit the investment proposals on their wind farm projects to the Government for approval.  So far, the Environment Bureau has not received relevant proposals.  Upon receiving the said investment proposals, the Government will examine critically the projects from various aspects, including renewable energy (RE) 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 RE while protecting consumer interests.

     The two power companies have carried out detailed studies on the construction of an offshore wind farm respectively.  The selected site for the wind farm of the CLP Power is located approximately 9 kilometres (km) east of Clearwater Bay peninsula and 5 km east of South Ninepin Island within the southeastern waters of Hong Kong.  CLP Power plans to install 67 wind turbines with an estimated generation capacity of 200 MW.  CLP Power has completed the environmental impact assessment (EIA) process and obtained an environmental permit for the proposal.  A feasibility study, including the collection of field data, is being carried out at the selected site.

     The selected site for the wind farm of HEC is located approximately 4 km southwest of Lamma Island.  HEC plans to install about 30 wind turbines with an estimated generation capacity of around 100 MW.  EIA report on the project of developing an off-shore wind farm has been completed and submitted to the Environmental Protection Department for approval.  HEC also plans to carry out detailed wind monitoring work at the selected site.

(b) to (d) The Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD) completed the Study on the Potential Applications of Renewable Energy in Hong Kong in 2002.  The study report indicates that solar energy, wind energy and energy-from-waste are the major types of RE that are available for wide adoption given our natural constraints and geographical limitations.

     To encourage power companies to develop RE, the SCA signed in 2008 provides a higher permitted rate of return (11%) for investment in RE.  Moreover, EMSD has drawn up technical guidelines to facilitate grid connection of RE power systems.  

     The Government has been actively exploring opportunities for the development of RE.  With the signing of an agreement in 2008 with Dupont, a US company, on a project under the "Shenzhen/Hong Kong Innovation Circle", Dupont set up in March 2009 its global thin film photovoltaic business headquarters and research and development centre at the Hong Kong Science Park. It also set up a manufacturing base in Shenzhen.  This project helps promote the research and application of solar energy in Hong Kong.

     As for the application of energy-from-waste, landfill gas is used for heating and generating power for on-site facilities at the three strategic landfills in operation (namely West New Territories Landfill, South East New Territories Landfill and North East New Territories Landfill).  Landfill gas from the North East New Territories Landfill and the Shuen Wan Landfill is transmitted to Towngas plant in Tai Po for towngas production in place of naphtha.

     Substantial amount of waste is generated as a result of urban life in Hong Kong every day, which can be used for power generation.  The Government plans to develop integrated waste management facilities (IWMF) in phases.  The first phase will have a daily treatment capacity of 3,000 tonnes of waste and can supply about 460 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of surplus electricity to the power grid per year, which is sufficient for use by 100,000 households.  The detailed site selection exercise has identified Shek Kwu Chau and Tsang Tsui Ash Lagoons as potential sites for relevant facilities.  Detailed engineering and EIA studies are being conducted at these two sites to assess which of them is more suitable for locating the facilities.  The studies will be completed in the second half of 2010 and a decision will be made on the choice of site.  We expect that the first phase IWMF will be commissioned in mid 2010s.

     We also plan to develop organic waste treatment facilities (OWTF) in two phases.  The facilities developed in each phase will have a daily treatment capacity of 200 tonnes of organic waste.  The biogas generated in the treatment process can also be used for power generation. It is estimated that about 14 million kWh of surplus electricity can be supplied to the power grid per year, which is adequate for use by 2,000 households.  We expect that the first phase OWTF will come into operation by mid 2010s.

     To promote RE, the Government will, where appropriate, install wind turbines and solar photovoltaic systems on buildings of the Government or public organisations.  For example, a small wind turbine and the largest solar photovoltaic system in the territory have been installed on the roof of the EMSD Headquarters Building, and the Hospital Authority has installed two small wind turbines on the roof of Kowloon Hospital. In recent years, RE generating units have also been installed in newly-constructed schools, parks and Government buildings as long as they are cost effective and feasible in design.

Ends/Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Issued at HKT 14:13


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