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October, 2009:

CLP Power replaced generators in island with wind and solar power

CLP Power introduce green technology in Island.

CLP Power introduce green technology in Island.

Transfer electricity to the islands had long been a problem for the engineers in power plants. Neither using submarine cables nor overhead lines would be practical for the electricity supply to the island. Using an overhead line would damage the sea view, but using submarine cable would damage coral in the sea. However building wind and solar power facilities can be a good alternative now. CLP Power is a good example on this ecology friendly technology.

The Dawn Island Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre located in Town Island, southern tip of Sai Kung, and using generators for electricity supply for years. However it is not effective and do harm to the environment. The generators emitted carbon dioxide while operating. At the same time they often break down, and the Centre needs to stop electricity for many times a day. The CLP Power therefore will build wind and solar power facilities to replace the generators, and the Dawn Island Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre will become the first location in Hong Kong powered entirely by renewable energy.

Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre will become first location in Hong Kong powered entirely by renewable energy.

Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre will become first location in Hong Kong powered entirely by renewable energy.

After the install of solar plants and wind turbines, they will provide 192kW of electricity which enough to run about 200 air conditioners. At the same time, carbon dioxide emissions will be reduced by 70 tonnes a year, and the electricity generated can be used in hostels, visitors’ centre and other facilities.

This is a good example for us to follow, and will give us valuable experience on green energy development. For now there is a small rehabilitation centre powered by renewable energy, how about a New Territory village later on? If the scale increased, we can have a whole district powered by renewable energy, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions dramatically. Let’s support more green energy proposal just like the Dawn Island one.

Transport firms seek funding to upgrade bus fleets, switch to cleaner fuel in ferries

Cheung Chi-fai, SCMP

Franchised bus and ferry operators have publicly sought government financial assistance to help them upgrade their fleets and switch to cleaner fuels if they are required to do so. The operators say they are seeking the unspecified help on the assumption that they will not be able to pass on the cost of improvements to the public through higher fares.

New World First Ferry – now testing ultra-low-sulphur diesel on three boats – said it could not keep using the fuel because it was too expensive.

“We will be unable to carry on after the end of the trial unless the government helps,” assistant general manger David Wong Yui-cheong told the Legislative Council’s environmental affairs panel yesterday.

The ferry operator’s sister company, New World First Bus, also said a subsidy would be needed if it was told to upgrade its diesel bus fleet ahead of schedule.

“The assumption is that we would not pass on the additional cost to the passengers by raising fares, and therefore a financial subsidy is necessary,” deputy head of corporate communications Elaine Chan Yin-ling said. It would be wasteful to phase out older buses before the end of their supposed life cycle, usually up to 18 years, she said.

In its recent air-quality review, the Environment Bureau estimated a 15 per cent fare rise would be needed to replace by 2014 about 4,500 franchised buses that went into service before Euro II emission standards were introduced in 1996 and 1998.

Fume-belching diesel buses are blamed for much of the roadside air pollution that persists despite efforts to clean up the environment.
Kowloon Motor Bus operations director Tim Ip Chung-tim said the bus-replacement programme was a complicated one that was also governed by manufacturers’ ability to supply vehicles. He also warned of the affect on finances and operations.

Secretary for the Environment Edward Yau Tang-wah said all parties in the community – individuals, government and businesses – would have to pay for better air quality. But he did not say whether the government had any plans to help bus companies upgrade their fleets.
The review proposed 19 measures to meet recommended new air-quality objectives, which have not been updated since 1987.
Representatives of more than 30 organisations attended yesterday’s panel meeting to offer their views on the review.

The prevalent view among non-business delegates was that tighter targets should be adopted and the proposed measures implemented as quickly as possible. A public forum will be held on Saturday to gauge public views on the review.

Meanwhile, WWF Hong Kong published its “Climate Policy Address” for Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen’s reference. It also urged Hong Kong to set a carbon emissions target of 25 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020.

Nuclear power a proven alternative


The world is struggling to reduce the carbon emissions that some blame for climate change. Industrialised and developing nations disagree on responsibility, and only a handful of countries are meeting targets outlined by the Kyoto Protocol. The outlook for a successor pact to be agreed to at a summit in Copenhagen in December is looking increasingly bleak. For those fearful of global warming, there would be less cause for gloom if nuclear power was embraced.

Most of the world’s electricity is produced by fossil fuels. This accounts for the bulk of carbon emissions from human activity. Nuclear reactors are the most reliable way of generating power with minimal environmental impact. The amounts of uranium for fuel and the waste that has to be dealt with at a reactor can be up to one million times smaller than at an equivalent-sized coal-, oil- or natural-gas-fuelled power station.

China and India are among the few nations to push ahead with reactor programmes. They have concluded that it is wrong to hold back nuclear power on health and safety grounds – the reasons stalling programmes in many other countries. Modern reactors are much safer than the ones that caused accidents at Three Mile Island in the US in 1979 and Chernobyl in Ukraine in 1986. Nuclear power, when managed properly, is not dangerous. France, Sweden and other countries with well-developed programmes prove this.

Nations reluctant to use nuclear energy have turned to hydro-electric, solar, wind and tidal power. These options are even cleaner than nuclear, but each is limited by environmental considerations or reliability. Technology may yet change this and better alternatives may be developed. Until that time, though, the challenge of climate change demands they be used in conjunction with reactors.

Two-thirds of the reactors being built in the world are on the mainland. It is operating 11, constructing 14 and work will start soon on 10 more. Just 1.1 per cent of electricity comes from the plants, but that is expected to at least double by 2020. About 80 per cent of power is generated by coal, the most environmentally damaging fossil fuel. The economic loss due to the pollution is estimated by the World Bank at 6 per cent of gross domestic product.

President Hu Jintao told the UN climate change summit in New York last month that China would cut carbon dioxide emissions by a “notable margin” by 2020, compared to 2005 levels. But he did not set targets. Efforts to reduce reliance on fossil fuels were under way and would continue, he said, but industrialised countries were largely responsible for global warming and should provide the bulk of technology and expertise to tackle it. The line is consistent among developing nations: economic growth must not be sacrificed.

Hong Kong and the developed world have high-energy lifestyles; we are wedded to air conditioning, large infrastructure projects and overseas travel. Behaviour must be modified, but to give up what has been achieved is unrealistic. The agreement signed last Tuesday between Hong Kong-based CLP Power (SEHK: 0002) and China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group, extending the supply of nuclear electricity from the Daya Bay plant to May 2034, sets the right tone, providing our city with clean, reusable and sustainable energy.

Nuclear reactors are expensive to build and decommission. For now, though, there is no better way to generate electricity and reduce carbon emissions. Attitudes have to change. It is inconceivable that the modern world will turn its back on energy-intensive living. Nuclear power is a proven alternative.

Plant’s waste management plan would cost less than incinerator


I refer to the report (“Sewage could be energy source, scientist says”, September 28).

While the studies of Herbert Fang, chairman of environmental engineering at the University of Hong Kong, should be encouraged, I wish to point out that the use of sewage sludge as a refuse derived fuel is not an entirely new concept. There are many operations all over the world that treat sewage sludge and use it as an environmentally-friendly and cost-effective refuse derived fuel.

At Green Island Cement, we have been working on our waste management technology, the eco-co-combustion system, for the past nine years.

We have already presented the government with our environmentally-friendly and cost-effective solution for sludge treatment. However, it has rejected our proposal and decided to construct a conventional sludge treatment incinerator in Tsang Tsui to manage Hong Kong’s growing waste management problem.

Through our eco-co-combustion system, sludge would be used as a refuse derived fuel at our cement plant in Tap Shek Kok. Sludge would be taken from Stonecutter’s Island (using existing transport containers) and further dewatering would be carried out at our site to create sludge pellets. These refuse derived fuel pellets would then be fed into the cement plant’s burner system to replace imported coal.
Together with this technology, the refuse derived fuel could replace about 40 per cent of coal currently burnt at the cement plant.

Our eco-co-combustion system pilot plant tests have demonstrated excellent emissions results, far better than the government’s best practical means.

In sum, our system offers a waste management solution that will result in an overall net improvement in air quality. All residual ash is recycled and used in the manufacturing of cement clinker, thereby further reducing the burden on landfills.

We estimate that the quantity of dewatered sludge which can be treated by our proposed facility would be up to about 2,000 tonnes of sludge per day, the same as the government’s proposed incinerator.

The capital required to install such a sludge processing facility at Tap Shek Kok is around HK$950 million.

This is a substantial saving on the government’s proposal to spend HK$5.2 billion.

It is a significant saving for the public purse.

Despite these numerous benefits, the administration has pressed ahead with its own conventional sludge incinerator proposal, without giving due consideration to our technology.

So while Professor Fang should be encouraged with his studies, we hope officials can provide a forum in which new technologies can be assessed and brought into fruition. If the government will only consider conventional technologies, any new scientific studies or advancements will prove pointless.

Don Johnston, executive director, Green Island Cement (Holdings) Limited