Clear The Air Energy Blog Rotating Header Image

HK May Use More Mainland Nuclear Energy To Meet Demand

Cheung Chi-fai, SCMP – Apr 18, 2009

More nuclear energy from the mainland is an option to meet demand for new power-generation capacity in six years’ time, CLP Power (SEHK: 0002)’s managing director said yesterday.

Outlining the company’s road map for the next decade, Betty Yuen So Siu-mai said that if energy demand grew by 1 to 2 per cent a year, new generation units would be needed between 2015 and 2017.

She said one option being considered was to import more nuclear energy from the mainland, which has vowed to increase the proportion of nuclear-generated energy from 2 per cent to 5 per cent by 2020.

Since it takes up to eight years to plan and build a nuclear plant, Mrs Yuen said it was time to start engaging the public on the future energy road map, including an appropriate fuel mix.

CLP Power imports 31 per cent of its power from the Daya Bay nuclear plant in Shenzhen. This supply will be extended by 20 more years after 2014 under a cross-border agreement reached last August.

Mrs Yuen said building a nuclear plant was more expensive than a gas one but could eliminate the impact of fluctuations in the price of fossil fuel.

She said that gas would continue to play a dominant role, accounting for at least half of generation, compared with 28 per cent now. This will be done by retrofitting coal units to burn gas and the timely completion by 2013 of pipelines linking its Black Point Power Station with a proposed Shenzhen container terminal in Dachan Bay. This facility would receive natural gas imported from Turkmenistan in Central Asia and liquefied natural gas shipped from elsewhere. CLP would buy gas from the Shenzhen storage plant, supplementing its existing source from a gas reserve in Hainan, which would be drilled further to boost supply.

“We are racing with time since only four years are left for us to put in place all these infrastructures and commercial arrangements.”

Mrs Yuen said they had to take contingency measures in designing the pipelines as any breakage would put the city at risk of a blackout.

With increasing use of gas and nuclear fuel, Mrs Yuen said the role of coal would be diminished and mainly be used as a backup for emergencies. Coal accounted for 48 per cent of generation last year. Mrs Yuen said the proportion of coal could eventually be lowered to a quarter.

Comments are closed.