Transcript of remarks by SEN

     Following is the transcript of remarks by the Secretary for the Environment, Mr Wong Kam-sing, during a media session this morning (March 19) on the public consultation on the Future Fuel Mix for Electricity Generation for Hong Kong:

Secretary for the Environment: I am going to present briefly in English about the essence of this consultation.

     The Government launched today a three-month public consultation on the Future Fuel Mix for Electricity Generation for Hong Kong.

     In order to facilitate timely planning of necessary infrastructure to meet the future power demand when existing coal-fired generating units start to retire from 2017, and to achieve environmental targets for 2020, we have to review the future fuel mix for power generation for Hong Kong. As electricity supply requires long-term planning, we adopt a planning horizon of a decade from now as a basis for planning the necessary infrastructure.

     Having regard to our energy policy objectives and various relevant considerations, we are putting forward two fuel mix options for public consultation. Option one is "grid purchase", and option two is "local generation". For option one, under which we propose importing power through purchase from the Mainland power grid. Option two is "local generation", under which we propose using more natural gas for local generation. Possible fuel mix ratios have been proposed under these two options for planning the necessary infrastructure, but the actual deployment of fuel mix types would eventually depend on the prevailing circumstances.

     In the public consultation document, we have provided an analysis of these two options against various considerations, including our energy policy objectives of safety, reliability, affordability and also environmental performance, as well as other important considerations including their implications on the future regulatory framework for the post-2018 electricity market.

     The Government adopts an open position on these options. We hope the public can provide us with their views on this important matter as we chart the way forward.

     Thank you.

Reporter: Will there be greater reliance on nuclear energy with these two options? For importing electricity from the Mainland, are we exporting the problems associated with that? How would electricity be generated?

Secretary for the Environment: I think for both option one and two, we are keeping the Daya Bay's imported nuclear as currently we are doing, so we are not really increasing the reliance on nuclear. Your second question is about whether we are going to, say if adopting the option one, export certain environmental loadings to other places. We are keeping the idea that the 30 per cent extra power from the Mainland only occupies a tiny percentage of their supply, so it is not a significant issue. Overall, both Hong Kong and the Mainland are going to improve our fuel types so that the overall air quality will be improved. It is our shared objective. So one way or the other, we are not worsening the overall air quality regionally.
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Ends/Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Issued at HKT 17:00