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Government to further reduce power plant emissions

     The Government published today (October 19) in the Gazette the "Third Technical Memorandum for Allocation of Emission Allowances in Respect of Specified Licences", which aims to further reduce the emissions from the power generation sector from 2017 onwards. The reduction of emissions will help to further improve air quality in the region.

     The new technical memorandum (TM), which is issued under the Air Pollution Control Ordinance, will cap the annual emissions from the power generation sector in 2017 and beyond in respect of three air pollutants, namely sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and respirable suspended particulates (RSP). The caps will be 10,399 tonnes for SO2, 25,950 tonnes for NOx and 750 tonnes for RSP. Compared to the emission caps as set out in the second TM for 2015 onwards, the emissions of the three air pollutants will be reduced by 17 per cent, 6 per cent and 10 per cent respectively.

     "The new emission caps are built upon the efforts of both power companies to maximise the use of the existing natural gas-fired electricity generation capacity and prioritise the use of coal-fired electricity generation units that have been equipped with advanced emission abatement equipment. In addition, the new emission caps will require the power companies to continue their efforts to use low-emission coal as far as possible and maintain the performance of their advanced emission control devices. The power companies will also take up surplus electricity generated from renewable energy (RE) and waste-to-energy (WTE) facilities to reduce coal-fired electricity generation, thereby reducing emissions," a spokesman for the Environmental Protection Department said.

     The actual outputs of RE and WTE each year are affected by a number of factors, such as changes in weather patterns and the generating capacity of the waste materials. The new TM provides for the determination of the final allocation after the actual intake of RE and WTE in the relevant emission year is ascertained.

     "The emissions from the power generation sector accounted for 50 per cent, 25 per cent and 16 per cent respectively of territory-wide emissions of SO2, NOx and RSP in 2010. The tightened emission allowances will help improve the air quality in Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta region," the spokesman said.

     "In line with the first TM and the second TM, provision is made in the new TM to allow up to 1 per cent of the total emission allowances of the power generation sector for potential newcomers to the local electricity market, and the same determination mechanism also caters for the possible intake of RE and WTE by the newcomers. We will continue to review the TM not less than once every two years."

     The new TM will be tabled at the Legislative Council on October 24 for commencement before the end of 2012. The new set of emission allowances will come into effect starting on January 1, 2017, i.e. at least four years after the commencement of the TM in accordance with section 26G(4) of the Air Pollution Control Ordinance.

Ends/Friday, October 19, 2012
Issued at HKT 11:41


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