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June, 2009:

Hong Kong Energy Statistics 2009 Q1

Source: Census and Statistics Department, HKSAR

Work on Two HK Gas Pipes to Start in 2011

Cheung Chi-fai, SCMP – Jun 25, 2009

Construction will begin in 2011 on two 20km underwater gas pipelines running from Shekou to Hong Kong to transport natural gas from Central Asia, CLP Power says.

The pipes are necessary to supplement the supply from the company’s gas reserve in Hainan , which comes through an 800km undersea pipe and is expected to start running out in 2012.

The new supply will also enable the firm to boost its use of cleaner gas to generate electricity and reduce air pollution, CLP says.

In a project profile submitted to the Environmental Protection Department, the company said the two pipes were needed to carry the gas from Dachan Island in Shekou to the Black Point Power Station.

Supply from the pipes will be at least 1 billion cubic metres a year, or about a third of the 3.4 billion cubic metres the power station will need by early in the next decade.

Last year, Hong Kong signed a memorandum of understanding with Beijing’s National Energy Administration to extend the second west-east natural gas pipelines from Central Asia to Hong Kong via Shenzhen. The pipe project is led by Petrol China Natural Gas Corporation, which will also invest in a gas storage facility and a liquefied natural gas terminal in Dachan. CLP Power also has about a 25 per cent stake in the terminal and storage project.

A CLP Power spokeswoman said the cost of the project was uncertain.

She said the dual pipe design would ensure a reliable supply.

It is understood the gas supply from eastern Shenzhen to Towngas and Hongkong Electric also comes through dual pipes.

According to the project profile, CLP Power will have to reclaim 2 hectares of land from the sea next to its power station to build a gas receiving station. It is estimated that 950,000 cubic metres of mud will be dredged from the sea bed.

An ecological impact study will be made for the 5km section of pipes within Hong Kong waters. The remaining section would be studied by the project’s mainland partners.

The profile said the pipes would be far from sensitive sites, though there had been sightings of Chinese white dolphin in the area.

Inventor Aims To Generate His Own Power

Dan Kadison, SCMP – Jun 21, 2009

Lucien Gambarota wants to go off the grid – the electrical grid, that is.
In the next couple of months, the local inventor will use alternative energy technologies to try to generate all of the electricity needed for his new Kowloon headquarters.

“My target is simple. I want to pay zero dollars to CLP, because if I pay zero dollars that means I am carbon free,” Mr Gambarota said.

The 51-year-old made the announcement during the opening of his new Wai Yip Street, Kwun Tong, workshop yesterday. There, in the nearly 8,000 sq ft space, he told dozens of guests that he had already been able to cut his carbon footprint by 88 per cent.

“This place here was using … 250 kilowatt-hours a year per square metre – and there is nothing wrong with that. This is the average in Hong Kong,” said Mr Gambarota, the founder of the MotorWave Group, a renewable energy company.

But he is in an environmentally friendly industry, and he wanted to do better. He and his workers added insulation, switched to compact fluorescent lighting and removed the air conditioning units. They “gutted, cancelled, deleted, changed, modified” everything they could, he said.

Now, “we are down to 40 [kilowatt-hours a year per square metre],” Mr Gambarota said to applause. The space was “releasing something like … 70 tonnes of [carbon dioxide] a year … now we release 8.2 tonnes.”

The difference translates to savings of more than HK$85,000 a year, but Mr Gambarota isn’t content with annual electricity costs of HK$12,000.

He plans to go up to the roof and install solar and wind energy equipment, including his own special brand of wind turbines, to see if he can produce all of his own electricity.
“Can we do it? I’ll tell you in two months. But we’ll be very, very close to that,” he said. “And why is it important? Because, most probably, we’ll be the first factory in the world to have such a low carbon print.”

Guests at Mr Gambarota’s workshop yesterday included Civic Party vice-chairman Albert Lai Kwong-tak; Civic Party legislators Audrey Eu Yuet-mee and Alan Leong Kah-kit; Carbon Care Asia chairman Chong Chan-yau; Alfred Sit Wing-hang, assistant director of the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department; and Danny Ngai Kam-fai, vice-president of the Chinese Manufacturers’ Association and a shareholder in Mr Gambarota’s company.

Mr Leong, whose Civic Party has proposed a “green New Deal” job creation plan, said he supported the inventor’s efforts. “The whole Legislative Council supports redefining our supplies and demands in a new economy,” Mr Leong said. “So I think I’m in the right place today to witness how Hong Kong industrialists, Hong Kong industries, [are] doing something towards that goal.”

Mr Lai also issued a challenge to Mr Gambarota: generate additional electricity and feed it back into the grid. “We will work together,” Mr Lai told the inventor. “We will work on the policy side, and you will work on the technology side to make sure this workshop actually produces energy and not just consumes it.”

Critics Question Cost-effectiveness Of Proposed Offshore Wind Farm

Cheung Chi-fai, SCMP – Jun 19, 2009

The construction of an offshore wind farm near Sai Kung will add about 2 per cent to electricity bills while supplying only about 1 per cent of the city’s needs, CLP Power (SEHK: 0002) says.

The disclosure prompted critics to question the cost-effectiveness of the estimated HK$6.7 billion project, and whether it would generate even the predicted amount.

The 2 per cent figure was based on the estimated construction costs of between HK$80 million and HK$100 million for each wind turbine, including the foundations and undersea cables, CLP said yesterday.

The plans call for the installation of 67 wind turbines, each with a 3MW generation capacity, at a site 10km from Clear Water Bay.

A spokeswoman for the utility said offshore wind farms tended to be three to five times more expensive than power plants using conventional fuel. She said the preliminary cost estimates were in line with overseas wind farms of a similar scale.

The final costing would hinge on further detailed wind studies at the site. “As detailed site data have yet to be gathered … only rough estimates can be made at this stage,” she said.

It was the first time CLP had offered an estimate of the impact on tariffs since an environmental assessment for the project was made public early this month.

It said that if 50MW turbines were installed first, the tariff increase would average 0.8 per cent.

When all 67 turbines were in operation, with a total capacity of 200MW, the rise would be 2 per cent.

The power utility had said the wind farm could generate about 40 million kWh of electricity a year, enough for 80,000 households a year at an annual carbon reduction of 300,000 tonnes.

The generation figure was based on an assumption that the wind would be strong enough to drive the turbines at full force 25 per cent of the time.

But this assumption was challenged as too optimistic.

“Major coastal wind farms in Guangdong, where the wind resource is richer than in Hong Kong, do not yield such a high rate,” said Jasper Ip Chi-man of Green Future, which promotes renewable energy.

A wrong forecast might affect the pay-back period of the wind farm and affect power tariffs, he said.

Lo Wing-lok of the Country and Marine Parks Board asked if the money could be better used installing equipment to cut emissions from coal-fired power stations.

EIA for Hong Kong’s First Offshore Wind Farm

Hong Kong, China [RenewableEnergyWorld] – June 19, 2009

BMT Asia Pacific Ltd, a subsidiary of BMT Group Ltd, has successfully completed an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Marine Navigation Safety Risk Assessment for Hong Kong’s first offshore windfarm.

“The constrained land resources of Hong Kong prohibit large-scale development, so we are very pleased to have assisted the implementation of this major offshore renewable project in Asian waters.”

— Richard Colwill, Managing Director, BMT Asia Pacific

With up to 67 turbines spread over the 16 square km site, the proposed installation will have a capacity of 200 MW.

BMT concluded that a wind farm set in the open ocean of the South China Sea, 10 km east of Hong Kong, would not have a negative impact on marine or bird life, or the busy marine traffic activity of Hong Kong.

It also identified that the wind farm’s use of suction caisson foundations would avoid the need for dredging or marine piling, thereby minimizing the risk of hazardous offshore works, water pollution and ecological disturbance.

The study was commissioned by independent renewable energy developer Wind Prospect. If approved, it will be built by CLP, one of Asia’s biggest investors in renewable energy.

Richard Colwill, managing director of BMT Asia Pacific in Hong Kong, said: “This wind farm will be a key step in helping Hong Kong to meet its renewable energy targets and cut carbon dioxide emissions. The constrained land resources of Hong Kong prohibit large-scale development, so we are very pleased to have assisted the implementation of this major offshore renewable project in Asian waters.”

Cleaner, Greener Diesel Cars Back On The Road

Anita Lam, SCMP –  Jun 18, 2009

New private diesel cars will be on sale in Hong Kong next month for the first time in more than a decade.

Audi’s distributor Premium Motors confirmed that one of its latest batch of Euro V diesel-engined cars, the Audi Q7 3.0 TDI Quattro, had passed the government’s stringent emimage004-1issions standards and would be arriving in about a month.

Motor traders began a global hunt for suitable diesel cars after the Environmental Protection Department introduced what it called “improved flexibility in vehicle emissions standards” in January.

Diesel engines are considered more powerful and fuel-efficient than petrol engines, but in the past they were not welcomed because they emitted high levels of particulates and smog-inducing nitrogen oxides. But carbon monoxide emissions from Audi’s latest diesel engine were more than six times lower than the emissions standard for a Euro-V petrol car, nitrogen oxide emissions were 16.7 per cent lower, and particulate levels 78 per cent lower.

Premium Motors managing director Chong Got said the same diesel engine had been running in Europe for three years, but it had been difficult to convince Audi to alter the engine’s specifications just to fit Hong Kong’s emissions requirements because such a move would only boost sales by several hundred vehicles a year.

“The decision was made beyond business concerns,” he said. “The manufacturer values Hong Kong as a market; they are more concerned in boosting the brand’s name and goodwill.”

Audi would introduce more diesel models in the future. The Audi Q7 was expected to cost about HK$800,000 – 10 per cent more than its petrol counterpart. But the diesel model had better acceleration and was also about 30 per cent more fuel-efficient than the petrol model.

Diesel sells for HK$8.89 per litre – about two-thirds the price of petrol in Hong Kong.
Motor Traders Association chairman Michael Lee said he did not believe diesel cars would become very popular in the short term because most manufacturers were reluctant to alter their diesel engines for a small market like Hong Kong, and others were exploring alternative green vehicle models like hybrids and electric cars.

Under the existing transport policy, a person can only register a diesel-engined car as commercial vehicle or a cargo van.

Owners of commercial vehicles have to spare a third of their cabin space for cargo storage and cannot enter certain places, such as Mid-Levels, at certain times, although they also enjoy a big waiver on the first-registration tax.

Hong Kong Government to Conduct Trial On BYD Dual Mode Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles

Business Desk, June 12, 2009

The Permanent Secretary for the Environment, Ms Anissa Wong, today (June 12) participated in a promotional activity on clean fuel vehicles in Shenzhen to mark the launch of a trial on BYD’s dual mode hybrid vehicles by the Hong Kong SAR Government and the Shenzhen Municipal Government.

“I am pleased to see that the Environment Bureau of the SAR Government has joined with the Environmental Protection Bureau of the Shenzhen Municipal Government to promote the use of clean fuel vehicles, and launched the trial scheme together. The scheme will enhance our understanding of this new generation of dual mode hybrid vehicles,” Ms Wong said.

She added that Shenzhen was among the 13 pilot cities on the Mainland to showcase and promote energy-saving vehicles powered by new types of fuel. The co-operation between the Environment Bureau of the SAR Government and the Environmental Protection Bureau of the Shenzhen Municipal Government marked an important step in enhancing the transformation of the Pearl River Delta region into a green and quality living area. She expressed the wish that the two places could make the best use of their experiences in developing energy-saving transportation and step up communication and knowledge sharing on research, supply and use of environmentally friendly vehicles.

The SAR Government will commence the trial of two BYD dual mode plug-in hybrid vehicles “3DM”starting from this July. The trial will not only provide the Government with useful information for assessing the use of this type of vehicle in Hong Kong, but will also encourage the public to learn more about this new type of vehicle.

Ms Wong, representing the Environment Bureau of the SAR Government, took part in the Green Action Day 2009 cum Shenzhen-Hong Kong Clean Fuel Vehicle Promotion held in Shenzhen this morning. A number of officials from the Shenzhen Municipal Government, including the Vice Mayor Mr Zhang Siping, were also present.

The Financial Secretary identified in this year’s Budget the promotion of electric vehicles as a key measure to promote a green economy. The Government earlier announced a host of measures for this cause, and set up a steering committee under the leadership of the Financial Secretary to make recommendations on strategy and specific measures to promote the use of electric vehicles. The Government began a trial on an electric vehicle in mid-May.

Cruise Ships To Get On-shore Power Supply

Paggie Leung, SCMP – Jun 12, 2009

The planned terminal for cruise liners at Kai Tak will be one of just a few in the world to offer on-shore power supply to ships – an environmentally friendly alternative to keeping the vessels’ engines running.

“Previously when a cruise liner anchored at a terminal, its electricity generator had to keep running, so there would be some emissions [of pollutants such as] carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide,” CLP Power director Paul Poon Wai-yin said yesterday after the topping-out ceremony for the first electricity substation at the Kai Tak site.

“But with the on-shore supply system, liners get electricity on shore and can switch off the generators so that there will be no emissions … in the city centre,” he said.

Cruise liners mainly used diesel to generate electricity, Mr Poon said, while the power company used more environmentally friendly resources – apart from coal – such as natural gas and nuclear power.

Another advantage of the on-shore system was its reliability. Five power substations will be built at Kai Tak. Apart from the cruise terminal, the facilities will also supply energy to nearby government offices, the Sha Tin-to-Central MTR link, the district cooling system, and residential and commercial projects.

The first substation is expected to be commissioned in mid-2012.

Should A Wind Farm Be Built Off Sai Kung?

SCMP – Jun 12, 2009

The Association for Geoconservation is extremely disappointed that the environmental impact assessment, as usual, has not seriously considered the geological impact of the proposed offshore wind farm in Hong Kong’s southeastern waters. We strongly oppose the project because it will damage our geological heritage and kill the Hong Kong geopark.

It is proposed that the wind farm should be 9km east of Clearwater Bay peninsula, 5km east of [East] Ninepin Island and 3km south of Basalt Island- which coincides with the boundary of the proposed geopark. The seabed of this area is home to invaluable geological heritage – the world’s largest acidic hexagonal columnar rocks.

At present, there is nowhere else with a coverage of over 100km and an average diameter of 1.2 metres. It is unique. The laying of foundation works, undersea electrical cables and turbines, and the onshore activities and grid connections, would cause serious damage. The appearance of up to 67 135-metre-high turbines arranged in a grid and the offshore transformer platform would affect the coastal features.

This is the only geological site among our eight geo sites that remains intact, with no human interference and construction. The construction of the wind farm would definitely undermine the geopark’s global significance.

Low efficiency is another factor to consider. Annually, the wind-farm project would provide only 1 per cent of Hong Kong’s electricity. So how can anyone justify pursuing such a project? The association supports efforts to improve air quality and to achieve the renewable energy targets. But this should not be done by damaging geological heritage.

Cindy Choi Mo-ching, Association for Geoconservation

A Sensible Government Would Say No To Expensive Wind Farm

SCMP – Updated on Jun 09, 2009

There has been a mixed reaction to CLP Power’s proposed erection of 67 wind turbines 135 metres high off Sai Kung.

Greenpeace said it regarded the project as a milestone for Hong Kong, though added it was a bit late compared to what has been achieved in China and Europe (“Cautious welcome for wind farm”, June 4). But the proposed scheme should be assessed on its merits and whether it can practically augment existing power supplies. Having wind turbines for the sake of establishing a milestone or success in other places can hardly be a sensible reason for their installation.

While WWF Hong Kong was concerned that the proposed wind farm would be in the flight path of migrating birds and adversely affect marine life, the Association for Geoconservation feared the wind farm would kill off the proposed geopark, because of its visual impact. Some aspects of this proposal are very clear.

The mega wind farm might cost as much as HK$2.8 billion and supply only 0.7 per cent of the city’s electricity needs. Under the proposed electricity market reform, investment in renewable energy would be rewarded with a permitted return of up to 11 per cent, according to a report in the South China Morning Post in 2006 (“Wind farm may blow more than it’s worth”). So, if the wind farm is allowed to go ahead, consumers will have to foot the bill for CLP Power’s capital expenditure and that will mean a necessary rise in the electricity tariff.

The power output from the farm – of less than 1 per cent of the city’s electricity demand – could be offset by electricity saved by simply switching off lights, appliances and equipment when not in use. This can be easily done at no cost and is environmentally most sensible. This consideration alone will surely render the proposed 200-megawatt wind farm absolutely superfluous to the city’s power requirements. Clearly, CLP Power’s proposed wind farm was never considered to benefit the city or our environment to begin with, other than the permitted return. A sensible government would certainly say no to this project.

Alex Tam, Sai Kung

Copyright (c) 2009 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All right reserved