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Black Point Power Station Gets New License

Hong Kong’s Black Point Power Station Gets New License

January 3, 2008 – China CSR

Hong Kong’s Environmental Protection Department issued a renewed license for the Black Point Power Station at the end of December 2007.

“The renewed licence under the Air Pollution Control Ordinance will come into effect tomorrow (January 1) and remain valid until the end of 2009,” said an EPD spokesman in an issued press release. “Having regard to the need to keep the emissions to the minimum and the current level of natural gas supply, the emission caps of the Black Point Power Station will be maintained at the current levels. As natural gas for power generation emits significantly less air pollutants than coal-fired units, it is the Government’s policy to encourage the use of natural gas in place of coal to reduce emissions. For this purpose, we have provided in the licensing conditions for an increase in the use of natural gas at the Black Point Power Station whenever this is become feasible.”

The spokesman also said when there is an increase in electricity generation due to increase in the use of natural gas at the Black Point Power Station, the increase in emissions at the station has to be offset by a corresponding reduction at the Castle Peak Power Station by a ratio ranged between 5.6 to 58 times, depending on the particular different pollutants.

Hong Kong’s also tightened the emissions cap for the Castle Peak Power Station ein early 2007, effectively bringing down the emission of air pollutants from the power plants. To improve air quality, Hong Kong reached a consensus with the Guangdong Provincial Government in April 2002, to reduce, on a best endeavor basis, the emission of four major air pollutants — sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, respirable suspended particulates and volatile organic compounds — by 40%, 20%, 55% and 55% respectively in the region by 2010, using 1997 as the base year.

To achieve the reduction targets, Hong Kong says it has implemented a series of measures to improve air quality, including the tightening of fuel and vehicle emission standards, requiring the retrofitting of emission control device to trap the particulate emission from diesel vehicles, strengthening vehicle emission inspections and enforcement against smoky vehicles, incentivizing early replacement of old diesel commercial vehicles with vehicles that comply with Euro IV standard, encouraging the use of environment-friendly vehicles through tax concession, limiting the emissions of volatile organic compounds from paints, printing inks and consumer products, requiring the installation of vapour recovery systems in petrol filling station and tightening the emission control on power stations.

CLP Set To Clear The Air Significantly By 2050

Regina Leung – SCMP
5:00pm, Dec 07, 2007

The CLP group (SEHK: 0002) set a voluntary target to cut its carbon emissions per unit of power output by 75 per cent by 2050, says Andrew Brandler, Chief Executive Officer of CLP on Friday.

“The plan is part of our pledge to fight global warming and reduce the effect of climate change. It is going to save millions of tonnes of carbon emissions between now and 2050,” Mr Brandler said.

As an interim measure, there will be a 5 per cent cut over the coming three years.

“We would achieve our target by increasing non-carbon emitting power generation capacity to 20 per cent of the total by 2020, through greater use of nuclear, hydro-power and renewable energy,” Mr Brandler explained.

He also revealed CLP would not build any more conventional coal-fired power stations in Hong Kong and other developed countries, to reduce the worse effect to the environment.

At the moment, CLP runs two major power stations in the New Territories – one in Castle Peak and the other one is in Black Point, both are in Tuen Mun.

Some Greenpeace activists hang a banner that reads “Climate change starts here” from a silo at CLP Power’s Castle Peak plant in Tuen Mun on Thursday while the UN Climate Change Conference was holding on the Indonesian island of Bali, urging the government to regulate its carbon dioxide emissions.

Climate Change Starts Here

Greenpeace climbers captivate power plant urging government to regulate its CO2 emissions

Hong Kong SAR, China — While the UN Climate Conference in Bali is thrashing out solution to global warming, two Greenpeace vessels gear towards the Castle Peak Power Plant, allowing the climbers to scale to a 30M-tall ash silos and suspend a 15m x 15m banner reading “Climate Change Starts Here” to protest against the government shirking its responsibility to restrain greenhouse gas emission from power plants.

Four Greenpeace climbers captivated today the largest local perpetrator of climate change, CLP Castle Peak Power Plant, while the UN Climate Conference in Bali is thrashing out solutions to global warming. The climbers scaled the fly ash silos and dropped a massive banner to urge the government to limit carbon dioxide emissions from power plants as a move to tackle climate change.

Frances Yeung, Greenpeace Climate and Energy Campaigner, says the action alerts the public to indifference of the government to damages the power plants have done to the climate. “While other countries and metropolitans have already taken actions, Hong Kong government has made no immediate response to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the power plants. Donald Tsang’s boast of his concern to global warming is far from the truth,” says she.

Power plants are the biggest local source of greenhouse gas emissions, which account for about 70% of carbon dioxide emissions (the major warming gases) in Hong Kong. Among them CLP is the biggest polluter, responsible for half of the release.

At present, the Government does not regulate emissions of carbon dioxide. Greenhouse gas emissions in Hong Kong have been increasing rapidly over the decade. Between 1990 and 2005, the emissions have increased 14%.

The government is now negotiating the new Scheme of Control Agreement (SOC) with the two local power companies which will last for 10 years. Greenpeace believes that global warming is too serious for the government to allow power plants to continue damaging the climate. The government must limit carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and their profits must be deducted if they exceed the emission caps.

CLP Exxon Mobil Emission Stats

Posted by David Wheeler & Kevin Ummel on the CARMA (Carbon Monitoring For Action) Blog on the 16th of November 2007:

Transparency is central to CARMA’s objective of reducing carbon emissions through public disclosure. So when the CLP Group in China approached us about our figures for their Castle Peak power plant in Hong Kong, we took notice and responded promptly. Indeed, it is CARMA’s policy to replace our data if high-quality, plant-specific, independently verified emission reports are available.

Although not all of CLP’s verified emission reports were plant specific, the company came forward with some previously unavailable data that allowed us to revise our original information for a handful of the company’s plants. In the case of Castle Peak, our original figure was revised downward. In the case of the Yallourn plant, our original estimate was revised upward. The net effect of these changes and others was to adjust CLP Group’s total present emissions from 75.3 million to 67 58.9 million tons. They also pointed out that we had incorrectly included a very small plant in the database that was no longer operational — we have removed it.

We also made adjustments after receiving verified emissions data from two small, related Polish companies (Dalkia Lodz and Dalkia Poznan). The net effect of those changes was to revise their aggregate CO2 emissions from 6 million to 4.5 million tons. We applaud both companies for bringing their independently verified emission reports to our attention, and, in the case of CLP Group, making available information that had not previously been public. We believe they set an excellent example for the rest of the power sector, and we hope more companies open up their plants to independent audits and subsequent posting on CARMA.

Clear The Air also have the figures from CLP Exxon Mobil – 13.3 million tonnes of CO2 are pumped into the air per year in Hong Kong. This is 36,438.36 tonnes of C02 per day / 1,518.26 tonnes per hour / 25.3 tonnes per minute/ or 422 kgs of C02 per second into the HK and adjoining atmosphere.

That’s only tossing 1,401 loaded 40′ x 26 tonne containers of carbon into the air per day or 58.3 per hour, far faster than they can manage in the biggest port in the world.

From their website they also managed in 2006 from Castle Peak alone :

  • 98.63 tonnes of Sulphur Dioxide a day
  • 61.64 tonnes of Nitrous Oxides a day
  • 3.83 tonnes of particulate soot a a day (they do not specify the extremely harmful PM2.5 that our noses cannot filter)

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

Castle Peak Power Objection

PRESS RELEASE – January 25, 2007

Clear The Air objects to Exxon/Mobil attempt to take over Soko Island

Yesterday, Clear The Air submitted its objection to the Castle Peak Power Environmental Impact Assessment for the building of a facility to store methane gas.

Methane is a major greenhouse gas. It is called liquefied natural gas or LNG when chilled.

Exxon/Mobil is the majority shareholder of Castle Peak Power.

Our submission shows that we can meet our energy needs and reduce pollution significantly without this facility. (graph shown on our submission). Exxon/Mobil has the following options:

a. Stop burning coal to create electricity to sell to China
b. Eliminate the 50% discount for large users to encourage energy savings
c. Start practicing proper demand management to reduce energy use by 30% using techniques that have been successful in Thailand, South Korea and the US.

The following options are also available for LNG supply

1. Extend the existing contract with the Chinese company CNOOC so they can drill new gas wells to provide methane beyond the current contract period. CNOOC has indicated in the press that they are willing to do so.
2. Use ships that warm up the methane on-board instead of on land.
3. Invest in proven “clean coal” technology
4. Use the Chinese company SINOPEC as a methane supplier as they have shown interest in supplying Hong Kong from an LNG facility they are planning to build on Huangmao Island. (map included in submission).

LNG Receiving Terminal by Castle Peak Power Company

Date: 22 January 2007

To : Environmental Protection Department

Re: Environmental Impact Assessment under Study Brief No. ESB-126/2005 for Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Receiving Terminal by Castle Peak Power Company

Clear The Air Response to EIA based on objectives of the study brief

1. Proposed capacity

“The objectives of the EIA study are as follows:

(ii) to provide information on the intended uses of the LNG and justify the proposed capacity of the facilities;”

Clear The Air

Clear The Air submit that there is no justification for the proposed capacity. Below is a graph of the “fuel mix” as used by CLP in 2004 and a proposed “fuel mix” by Clear The Air for 2013. The need for proposed LNG capacity can be eliminated because the existing gas supply can be extended by the fuel mix below which will also significantly reduce air pollution.

CLP Power can:

a. Eliminate electricity sales to China
b. Eliminate the 50% discount for large users to encourage less energy use
c. Start practicing proper demand management to reduce energy use by 30% using techniques that have been successful in Thailand, South Korea and the US.
c. Invest in renewable energy through
– large scale renewable energy projects
– small scale electricity generation reducing the total annual need for natural gas

Fuel Mix Used by CLP in 2004 and proposed fuel mix by Clear The Air for 2013

2. LNG carrier route

(iv) “to identify and describe the elements of the community and environment to be affected by the Project, including any loss of natural coastline, rocky or sandy shore, the population close to the LNG carrier route, and/or to cause adverse impacts to the Project, including both the natural and man-made environment and the associated environmental constraints;”

Clear The Air:

CLP Power provided an incorrect carrier route. LNG ships going to and from the Black Point site can use existing shipping lanes and the Tong Gu Channel (under construction) If this Channel is extended into Hong Kong waters, as was originally proposed, the route would not be close to any population centres.

3. Alternatives

(v) “to consider alternatives including, but not limited to, location, size of reclamation, scale of development, design layout, with a view to avoiding and minimizing the potential environmental impacts on marine waters and the ecological sensitivity areas and other sensitive uses; to compare the environmental benefits and dis-benefits of each of the different options; to provide reasons for selecting the preferred option(s) and to describe the part of environmental factors played in the selection;

Clear The Air

Clear The Air submit the following alternatives that are not included in the EIA:

  • Extend the existing contract with the Chinese company CNOOC so they can drill new gas wells to provide methane beyond the current contract period. CNOOC has indicated in the press that they are willing to do so.
  • Pursue the energy demand reduction plan shown above.
  • On-board Re-Gasification of LNG instead of terminals – a more flexible and significantly less destructive technology than building terminals.
  • Invest in proven “clean coal” technology
  • Use the Chinese company SINOPEC as a methane supplier as they have shown interest in supplying Hong Kong from an LNG facility they are planning to build on Huangmao Island.

4. Options
(xiv) to compare the environmental merits and demerits of the Soko and/or Black Point Option with other options;

Clear The Air

The merits and demerits of the Black Point Option should have included extending the dredging of the Tong Gu channel in Hong Kong waters so that LNG ships can get to and from Black Point

Clear The Air note that In May 2003, the EPD issued a study brief for the Shenzhen Port Tonggu Channel Developing Office so that they could write an EIA. In March 2005, The Director of the EPD ruled that the EIA submitted for the Tong Gu Channel section in Hong Kong waters did not meet the study brief requirements. In June 2005, just three months later, the study brief for the LNG terminal was released.

With the full knowledge, therefore, of the issues regarding dredging near Black Point, we believe that the EPD is aware that extending the dredging of the Tong Gu channel is an alternative and therefore, we are surprised that this EIA has not been rejected by the EPD as also not meeting its study brief requirements.

5. Methane (LNG) global environmental damage

(vi) to identify and quantify emission sources and determine the significance of impacts on sensitive receivers and potential affected uses;
(xi) to identify the risk due to the transportation and storage of LNG and to propose measures to mitigate the impact;
(xii) to identify the risk to environmental sensitive receivers, including the marine and terrestrial habitats, due to LNG leakage and the consequential fire hazard and to propose measures to minimize the potential risk;

Clear The Air

As a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, China (and therefore Hong Kong) is responsible for measuring the entire global impact of shipping and using methane (LNG) one of the six greenhouse gases addressed by the treaty. Methane that is lost through the original liquefaction process, evaporation during transhipment from the host country and transfer to the LNG facility, and loss during re-gasification should be included in the EIA. Since the origin of the LNG is unknown, a range of figures need to be supplied given the best and worst scenarios available today.

Furthermore, since many countries shipping methane are in or near areas of civil unrest, the impact to the environment if the LNG supplies should not arrive because of political reasons – compared to sourcing methane from China, should be included.

End of submission