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Hongkong Electric

CLP Plant Can Flout Pollution Cap

Cheung Chi-fai
Updated on Jan 01, 2008 – SCMP

Limits on the amount of pollution CLP Power’s gas-fired power station may emit have been renewed, but with the proviso that the company may breach them if it reduces pollution from its coal-fired turbines.

The Environmental Protection Department said the proviso was intended to encourage the company to use more gas.

“This offsetting arrangement will ensure a greater net reduction of the overall emissions from power generation, which is the biggest local source of air pollutants,” a spokeswoman for the department said.

However, CLP Power says it faces a shortage of gas supplies – the reason for its application to build a liquefied natural gas terminal on South Soko Island, in a marine reserve off Lantau, to receive overseas gas supplies shipped by tanker.

There are no figures for its output of pollutants last year, but it announced in December 2006 that the proportion of electricity it would generate in 2007 from gas would drop by a third to conserve supplies from its Yacheng gas field off Hainan , and that it would burn more coal, pushing up emissions.

The power station at Black Point, Tuen Mun, will be allowed to emit 520 tonnes of sulfur dioxide, 5,200 tonnes of nitrogen oxides and 65 tonnes of particulates per year this year and 2009. In 2006, the latest year for which figures are available, emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides came in far below the caps, at 180 tonnes and 1,962 tonnes respectively, but particulate emissions, at 70 tonnes, breached the cap.

The cap extension was announced as the deadline for agreement between the government and Hong Kong’s two electricity suppliers on new scheme-of-control agreements regulating profits on their investments passed without a deal.

“The talks have been very difficult. So far there is no comprehensive and concrete agreement,” a source close to the negotiations said. The source would not say whether the talks would be extended.

The government had said earlier that if the deadline passed without agreement, it intended to draft a law to regulate the companies.

Tso Kai-sum, managing director of the other power generator, Hongkong Electric, said three weeks ago that a deal was close.

Both companies were tight-lipped yesterday over the talks.

Green Groups Push For CO2 Caps in Scheme of Control

Nishika Patel

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Six green groups have accused the government of not doing enough to curb greenhouse gas emissions, saying the new scheme of control will not force power companies into line.

Staging a protest at the Environment Bureau yesterday, members of the alliance urged authorities to cap carbon dioxide emissions for power plants and deduct their profits if the targets are not met.

Greenpeace said CLP Power and Hong Kong Electric are responsible for emitting 70 percent of carbon dioxide in the SAR and are the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions

The groups are angry that the government only regulates emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and respirable suspended particulates, but not the chief greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide .

“While countries around the world are actively fighting global warming, the SAR government simply allows carbon dioxide emissions to damage the climate without regulation. The government should not shirk its responsibility,” Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner Frances Yeung Hoi-shan said.

The alliance also wants a new scheme of control to set targets to reduce energy consumption and sanctions imposed if the power firms fail to meet the targets.

“Energy saving is the most cost- effective means to control greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality. However, the government has suggested offering incentives to power plants to improve energy saving and demand-side management which, however, are not compulsory and only serve as foil,” Yeung said.

The groups included Friends of the Earth, Greeners Action, Green Sense, WWF Hong Kong and Clear the Air, along with Carbon Dioxide Foundlings.

Power Plant Emission Figures

The following statistics were gatherered from both China Light and Power and HK Electric Holdings in reference to the total electricity sent out and the resulting emissions of Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Sulphur Dioxide (SO2), Nitrous Oxides (NOx) and Particulates emitted.

Year 2006

CLP

HK Electric Holdings

Total/Year

Daily Amount

Total Electricity Sent Out 2006 (Gwh)

25,024

12,199

37,223,000 Mwh

101,980.82 MwH

C02 emitted – Kilo Tonnes (Kt)

17,990

9,850

27,840,000 tonnes

76,273.97 tonnes

S02 emitted (Sulphur Dioxide) Kt

36

30

66,000 tonnes

180.82 tonnes

N0x emitted (Nitrous Oxides) Kt

24.5

17.3

41,800 tonnes

114.52 tonnes

Particulates emitted Kt

1.5

1.3

2,800 tonnes

7.67 tonnes

2006 emissions by HK Power plants Source:

https://www.clpgroup.com/SocNEnv/SER/Performance/KeyPerofrmance/Pages/default.aspx
https://www.clpgroup.com/Abt/Res/Pub/Pages/default.aspx
http://www.heh.com/NR/rdonlyres/031CA156-3A44-447D-B598-7866268825F7/0/13InPursuitofExcellence.pdf

The following letter was sent by James Middleton on behalf of Clear The Air Hong Kong, to the Director for Environmental Protection:

Dear Sir,

I refer to a letter in another local English language daily last week ‘Naive view of HK pollution’ by Angela Jackson which refers to the administration chief’s intention to match Hong Kong with London’s and New York’s pollution levels by 2005. For this we must now read ‘2010’.

The Hong Kong Government has frequently stated that most of Hong Kong’s pollution emanates from the Pearl River Delta. I think they have been watching too many ‘Yes Prime Minister’ shows and tried to copy the antics. Strange then that on major chinese public holidays when the factories over the border were shut that Hong Kong was still in pea soup air.

If one follows the weblinks on the two local power company websites to audited emission figures provided by the coal burning local polluters it shows that the two between them emitted 76,576 tonnes of pollutants and greenhouse C02 gas into Hong Kong’s air on average every day of the year in 2006 (yes that is three thousand one hundred and ninety tonnes per hour) – then we have the old diesel buses, trucks and PLB roadside pollution and ship emissions in the harbour on top of this number and that’s before anyone smokes tobacco.

Having raised this with the EPD we received the following reply:

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your messages addressed to this department on 15 and 16 November 2007.

Curbing emissions from power plants is one of the top environmental agenda of the HKSAR Government. Under the Air Pollution Control Ordinance, power plants are classified as specified processes requiring licensing control and the use of the most advanced control technology to prevent the emissions and ensure the meeting of the relevant air quality objectives.

Also, from 1997, we have established the policy that all new generating units have to be natural gas-fired plants which emit virtually no sulphur dioxide and particulates, 80% less of nitrogen oxides and about half of the carbon dioxide emissions.

To improve air quality, the Hong Kong SAR Government reached a consensus with the Guangdong Provincial Government in April 2002 to reduce the emission of SO2, NOx, RSP and volatile organic compounds by 40%, 20%, 55% and 55%, respectively by 2010 compared to 1997 levels. Both power companies are required to cap their emissions progressively during their licence renewals to achieve the 2010 emission reduction targets.

Please be assured that the HKSAR will continue its best efforts to ensure the maximum reduction of power companies’ emission for protecting the public from any adverse health effects. On carbon emissions disclosure, you may have noted that the two power companies have provided CO2 emissions data of their power plants in Hong Kong at their corporate websites.

Yours faithfully,

Louis Chan for Director of Environmental Protection

Folly of the Soko gas plant

Published in the SCMP on the 24th of February 2007:

AIR QUALITY Christian Masset

Folly of the Soko gas plant

Much has been said about the liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal proposed for South Soko Island by ExxonMobil and CLP Power. So it is necessary to clarify whether the options being considered will achieve the original purpose – namely, improving our air quality.

CLP Power has said that it was not possible to commit to a clear objective in reducing the burning of coal at the CLP Castle Peak station, even assuming the LNG terminal was in operation. In plain English, this means that ExxonMobil- CLP will offer no guarantee that it will pollute less if the terminal is built.

To reduce coal pollution in our air significantly, we have three options: a very cost-effective one; a bold and highly effective option; and one filled with high risks and uncertainties.

The first involves no additional costs for the Hong Kong electricity user. It has three steps: first, complete as soon as possible the installation of flue gas desulfurisation systems on all coal-fired turbines in Hong Kong operated by our electricity suppliers. This will reduce sulfur dioxide pollution, a major cause of poor visibility, by over 95 per cent.

Both CLP Power and Hongkong Electric say these are highly expensive investments, but they can afford them thanks to their massive earnings under the scheme of control.

The second step is to limit CLP Power’s electricity sales to Guangdong. They have increased from 600 units in 1997 to 4,500 units in 2005. Those exports account for about 18 per cent of total sales yet produce over 40 per cent of coal related pollution from power generation, since that electricity is produced in the highly coal-reliant Castle Peak plant.

The third step is to finalise and implement as soon as possible the emissions tabletrading framework on thermal plants reached last month by the Hong Kong government and authorities from the Pearl River Delta.

The second option – the bold and highly effective one – would be to accompany the above measures with a comprehensive energy-saving policy. Then, to have energy savings translate into less air pollution and stable prices, we need to revise or adapt radically the scheme of control. Bear in mind that, in its present form, the scheme defeats all effective and standard demand-side energy saving policies.

Prolonging the scheme of control in its present form encourages two major flaws. One, individual users who reduce their power consumption are likely to be charged at a higher rate, since utilities are unlikely to seek more revenue from corporate clients. Two, it leads to everhigher and unnecessary investments paid for by Hong Kong citizens, the overconsumption of electricity and projects that are impossible to justify – such as the Soko LNG terminal.

The third option is the proposed LNG terminal. We won’t even consider, here, the environmental degradation that the plant would cause, on land and in the sea. But the project offers no guarantee of better air quality, or stability in electricity costs to the users, corporate or individuals.

LNG shipments in Asia are currently about 50 per cent more expensive than the gas piped into Hong Kong from the Yacheng field on Hainan Island. And surging global demand for LNG will inevitably cause a price increase on the world market. So, we can expect the cost of electricity to go up.

For these reasons, the Soko LNG project doesn’t meet any of the promises offered: it doesn’t guarantee clean air or stable energy costs, and it encourages an unhealthy dependence on a single, vertically integrated foreign corporation able to influence the supply of raw material, and the production, transmission and distribution of electricity.

A sustainable energy policy for Hong Kong has to break the duopoly of Exxon-Mobil-CLP and Hongkong Electric. Deregulation in energy, similar to that in the telecommunications sector, has to happen as soon as possible. That would encourage the offering of cleaner energy, cost-effective energy distribution and price competition – from a range of reliable and innovative sources.

In this way, Hong Kong can achieve the goal of a return to the blue skies that all its residents yearn for – and which the administration has repeatedly promised.

Christian Masset is the immediate past chairman of Clear The Air

Gradual Reduction Approach For Emission Caps

Good caps & a good penalty to get the blue sky back

The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) is going to renew the process license for the Lamma Island power plants of Hongkong Electric Company (HEC) very soon. It will also be the first time for the EPD to include emissions caps for the 3 air pollutants in the license. Greenpeace and Clear The Air urge the EPD to make good use of this renewal process to hold HEC accountable for their major role in Hong Kong’s air pollution, by setting yearly emission caps from now till 2010, and raise the penalty of excess emissions to a level that can deter non-compliance.

HEC is the second largest air polluter in Hong Kong. HEC supplies electricity to only 20% of Hong Kong’s population, but it emits 40% of SO2 in the power sector. (Note: appendix 1) Gloria Chang, Greenpeace campaigner, emphasized that, “It is high time for our government to set more stringent emission caps and raise penalty so as to push HEC to clean up our sky.”

Greenpeace and Clear The Air propose a gradual reduction approach for emission caps. The license for power companies should include a set of yearly emission caps that can ensure a decrease in emissions from now up to 2010. This approach can enable Hong Kong people’s ‘right to know’ the progress of planned reductions, whether the power companies are successfully approaching the overall 2010 reduction target and make sure that power companies cannot delay their actions to reduce emissions at the expense of society.

Furthermore, Greenpeace and Clear The Air demand that the EPD raise the penalty of excessive emissions to a level that is high enough to impact shareholder profits, not only to pressure the power companies to reduce air pollutants at a faster pace, but also to cover the social and health costs brought by air pollution.

Greenpeace and Clear The Air support the financial penalty as proposed in the “Future Development of the Electricity Market in Hong Kong: Stage II Consultation”, in which the permitted rate of return of power companies would be reduced if they fail to meet the statutory emission caps. This measure will be much more effective than the existing penalty as stated in “Air Pollution Control Ordinance” which is [a fixed fine of] HKD 100,000. (Chapter 311, Section 10, Claust 7b)

Also, Greenpeace and Clear The Air suggest that the EPD consider the penalty imposed on power companies under the US government’s “Clean Air Act”, where HEC would be fined US $2,000 per tonne of SO2 emission that exceeds the cap. If we use this level of penalty together with our gradual reduction approach, the penalty of HEC last year is estimated to be HKD 70 million. (Note: Appendix 2). Even this penalty would only amount to less than 2% of the total profit of HEC last year.

From 1997 to 2004, SO2 emissions in Hong Kong did not show the slightest decrease, but actually increased hugely – by 50%. (Note: Appendix 3) Only if the government is taking real action to tighten up the emission caps and penalty of power companies, can we have a chance to get the blue sky back.

Appendix 1: HK air pollutants emissions (1997- 2005) – HEC and CLP
Appendix 2: Gradual reduction approach and penalty
Appendix 3: HK air pollutants reduction progress, impacts of air pollution to health

Greens Urge Tougher Caps On Emissions

Cheung Chi-fai, SCMP – Thursday August 17 2006

Environmentalists have called on the government to impose a tighter emissions cap on Hongkong Electric after dismissing last year’s cap on CLP Power as toothless.

Greenpeace and Clear the Air also urged the government to release its guidelines on emissions reduction to honour the 2010 Pearl River Delta reduction goals agreed with Guangdong.

The calls come as the Environmental Protection Department is poised to impose an emissions cap on Hongkong Electric’s eight coal-fired generation units on Lamma Island when the licence for the units comes up for renewal next month.

Environmentalists expect Hongkong Electric will be able to satisfy the as yet undecided cap, as its new, gas-fired, 335-megawatt generation units are due to come into operation soon, thereby minimising reliance on coal, which is more polluting. The company said that last year it emitted 31,000 tonnes of sulfur dioxide (SO2).

A 54,000-tonne annual cap regulating each of three types of pollutants, including SO2, over a two-year period was imposed on CLP Power’s Castle Peak coal-fired generators in July last year. But environmentalists pointed out that the allowance was higher than the actual emissions of SO2 in 2003 and 2004 – the worst years on record.

The department yesterday said CLP’s cap for the second of the two years would be lowered to 44,000 tonnes. CLP Power said its SO2 emissions from July last year until March were about 34,000 tonnes.

The department has not said what levels the plants have to achieve by 2010, but Greenpeace campaigner Gloria Chang Wan-ki said the public had a right to know.

Annelise Connell, chairwoman of the Clear the Air, said penalties for breaching caps should increase.

Hongkong Electric – twice as polluting as CLP

Press Release

1 June, 2006

Hongkong Electric – twice as polluting as CLP (per kWh) making 4 times the profit

We need a level playing field instead of special treatment for Cheung Kong

Hongkong Electric is the dirtiest, most polluting, most inefficient, most expensive, most profit gouging power company in Hong Kong. The process license for the Lamma Island plant is due for renewal in 2006 – and it needs to be looked at in comparison to

Hongkong Electric compared to CLP/CAPCO (ExxonMobil) coal power installation:

  1. Charges the public 30% more per kWh ($1.15 vs $0.88)
  2. Generates over twice the pollution per kWh as CLP (see graph) *Note 1
  3. Makes Four times the profit per kWh ($0.57 vs $0.14) **Note 2

2003 Pollution from Power Plants

Data sources:

www.clpgroup.com/clp/Abt/Res/Pub/FinancialReport2005.htm?lang=en

http://www.hec.com.hk/hehWeb/InvestorRelations/FinancialReports/AnnualReports/AnnualReport2005_en.htm

Sources:

CLP Scheme of Control Statement 2005
CLP Ten-year Summary: CLP Group Financial & Operating Statistics
CLP Ten-year Summary: Scheme of Control Financial & Operating Statistics
HEC Ten-Year Scheme of Control Statement
HEC Ten-Year Balance Sheet
HEC Ten-Year Operating Statistics

*Note 1:

Year 2003 CLP/CAPCO HKE
SO2 51059 32765
NOx 28202 17018
RSP 16970 16860

**Note 2:
Year Net return (HK$ m) Electricity sent out (kWh)
CAPCO HEC CAPCO HEC
2005 3,542 6,134 24,877 10,755

Demand management

The proposed measures in the renewal of the HEC process license, due in September 2006, are not enough. We need to know – real time – when the dirtiest turbines are going to be turned on so that we, the public, can take action to reduce our peak demand and the pollution.

Organizations like the Hospital Authority should be given the financial incentives needed to reduce energy at the time it will cause the most pollution. Then they save money and reduce pollution. e.g. High peak – three times the price, Normal peak – current price, Low – half price.

Turbine graph

Turbines turned on based on demand Hong Electric allowed pollution by turbine - 2004

Summary:

1. HEC is so much worse than CLP that its emissions caps should be much tighter than CLP/CAPCO to renewal their process license.

2. HEC must show us the daily usage demand figures so we can “shave the peak” and use less power – and save the most money – when HEC uses its most polluting turbines.

3. We should profit from reducing our demand based on the pollution we prevent – we demand that HEC offer “demand pricing”.

International Convention On Toxin Control

Wednesday, February 1, 2006

Toxin controls pose fresh challenge to power firms

CHEUNG CHI-FAI

The environment watchdog is poised for another head-on clash with power suppliers as it proposes phasing out old coal-fired generation units to meet an international convention on toxin control.

The plan aims to fulfil the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants that bans or limits the production and release of 12 toxins, including pesticides and dioxin.

Hong Kong has to submit its implementation plan on the curbs this year via Beijing, a signatory to the convention.

The proposed move comes at a sensitive time as CLP Power is locking horns with the government over plans to reform the electricity market and associated environmental requirements.

At the core of the potential new row is the release and production of cancer-causing dioxins and furans – two by-products emitted into the air and left in the ashes from burning coal.

It is estimated that the power companies could have contributed 26 per cent of the dioxin and furans produced in 2003, following metal production (39 per cent) and land-filling (28 per cent).

In the draft plan, the government says it may propose phasing out old coal-fired generation units and replacing them with gas-fired units within 10 years of the policy being implemented.

Although the plan said switching to gas could reduce dioxin emissions by up to 95 per cent, it also acknowledged that a full-scale switch had to take into account energy policy, economic considerations and the city’s electricity needs.

The proposal is understood to be a “committed direction” of the government, although there is no clear timetable.

It also proposes as a “priority task” an investigation of the dioxin and furans content in coal-burning residues and recycled products containing the residues. Ash products – mixed with concrete or bricks – are widely used in construction projects.

Ash is being stored in ash lagoons in Tuen Mun and on Lamma Island operated by the two power suppliers. But the one in Tuen Mun might need to be moved because the government wants to use the site for landfill expansion.

Friends of the Earth environmental affairs manager Hahn Chu Hon-keung supported a review of the heavy reliance on coal.

“The dioxin emission from coal burning is one of the neglected areas in the electricity market reform and now it is time to deal with it. There is no excuse for the power companies to evade it,” he said.

Mr Chu said he was worried that few studies had been done on ash products, and feared that dioxin residues could be released back into the environment when structures or roads were demolished.

CLP Power said it was studying the implications of the convention.

Hongkong Electric said: “Dioxin emission in coal-fired generation process is negligible due to its high boiler combustion temperature.”

AmCham Energy Audit program

Doing our part to reduce pollution – Clear The Air project plan for

The American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong

AmCham Energy Audit program

Do you want results – now?

Turning the thermostat up one degree will save 3% on your energy bill and reduce the need to generate power from burning coal. Three more simple solutions are 1. Caulk, 2. Weatherstripping and 3. Demand Management.

Let’s start by doing our part to reduce pollution from electricity. Then take our experience and our new found education to our subsidiaries and suppliers in China.

Below are the steps following the best US management techniques to make sure the program is a success in both the short and long term – and is self sustaining.

Define the problem:

Do an energy audit with an internationally approved system like LEED Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (appendix A)

Educate:

Make sure everyone involved is educated, from top management and the building facilities manager down to and including your subcontracted cleaning service.

Address staff psychological needs e.g. “cooler is healthier” – “wearing short sleeved shirts is immodest”.

Implement

Have the project team install the hardware, or just turn on the control systems that already exist. Show how the control systems work, move the office furniture for optimum air flow and work flow.

Measure

Show how the energy bill has changed. Show the changes in indoor air quality. Solicit feedback from the staff.

Report

Display the savings real time in the office if possible. Report the results to top management, put it in the annual report, and send out a press release.

Review

Did you get the result you expected? Start again at Define the Problem

Have a party – this is supposed to be fun !

Where to start:

1. The AmCham offices – an example of a – typical Grade A office space
2. The American Club – where so many AmCham members hold debentures and it is currently planning unaudited renovations – typical leisure facility with multiple retail functions like Food and Beverage.

Don’t overlook the psychological barriers to change

Getting staff buy-in is a fundamental US management principle. They can be your greatest ally or your biggest obstacle. Find out what worries them, solve their problem, address their concerns and you have a better chance at success.

Some common psychological barriers in Hong Kong

• Colder is healthier.
• I want to wear my nice winter clothes.
• I don’t like short sleeved shirts, they make me look skinny.
• I don’t like looking at men’s hairy arms in short sleeved shirts.
• I refuse to sweat.
• I need to set the thermostat to low so it will cool down faster.
• I need to cool off fast when I come indoors.
• I’ll get into trouble if I don’t leave the machine on.
• I don’t want to wait for the computer to boot up.
• Leaving just one machine on does not use that much energy

Ideally, setting your control systems correctly will actually improve the indoor climate and work environment for your employees so they will not notice any change. Instead they will feel better and breathe more easily at work.

All of these are real obstacles that need to be addressed to succeed. The way you do it can make or break your energy saving campaign.

Shave the Peak

At Hongkong Electric as soon as we use over 1,300 megawatts of energy they turn on their oldest, dirtiest coal turbines (see the graph below). The old ones pump out up to ten times the pollution because they have no pollution control equipment at all.

The goal is to “shave the peak” i.e. change habits to use electricity at non peak times – and keep those turbine turned off.

Hong Electric Allowed Pollution by Turbine - 2004

Summary:

Do an Energy Audit to define the problem and find solutions. Use the best practices of a certification system like LEED to direct the project and ensure success. Educate the staff on any operational changes and get their buy-in. Implement the changes, measure the results and report them – to the staff, to top brass here and in the US. Have a beer bust. Give out “green stars”.

Clear The Air will – at no cost – help co-ordinate and advocate the process, and help you keep it on track.

Regards,

Annelise Connell
Charirperson – Clear The Air

Appendix A

Certification schemes

Can we do better, and if so, how?

All certification schemes tell you how well or how badly you are doing against a benchmark that is widely accepted. Some things you may not even know are even possible, let alone crucial. Others you would chalk up to common sense. The certification is to educate you on what is possible, and how well you are achieving it. LEED is the most widely recognized system in the US.

Here is an example of the checklist.

Frequently Asked Questions

LEED: Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design

The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System® is a voluntary, consensus-based national standard for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings.

What is LEED for Commercial Interiors?

LEED for Commercial Interiors (LEED-CI) addresses tenant improvement of spaces primarily in office, retail and institutional buildings. It is part of a comprehensive suite of LEED assessment tools under development by the USGBC to promote green design, construction, and operations practices in buildings nationwide. A companion rating system for Core & Shell developments (LEED-CS) is currently under development. Together, LEED-CI and LEED-CS will establish green building criteria for commercial office real estate for use by both developers and tenants.

I am trained as an interior designer and don’t have the training to handle the energy- and HVAC-related credits. What do I do?

Successful LEED projects begin with a fully integrated design team in which all the professional disciplines work together toward the project goals. While each needs to be aware of the other’s contributions and participate in the decision making, none can or will have the knowledge and experience to complete a project unassisted.

Can interior designers become LEED Accredited Professionals?

Yes. Anyone wishing to seek accreditation can sit for the exam.

Source: www.usgbc.org

What kind of things are analyzed?

Do you know that carbon monoxide monitoring to see what your air quality is like is important? Does your space, or your building even conform to the minimum energy performance benchmark? Have you ever heard of “thermal comfort”?

Here are two key categories of the LEED checklist