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August, 2008:

CLP Targets “World’s Factory” With Energy Efficiency Business Written by James Ockenden – Aug 18, 2008

Hong Kong utility CLP Group has launched an energy efficiency and conservation consultancy targeting steel, cement, plastics, electronics, garment and toy factories in the Pearl River Delta, Guangdong Province.

Based on CLP’s active Hong Kong energy audit service, which typically cuts customers’ energy consumption by 10-20%, CLP Energy Services & Technology (Shenzhen) Company Limited will offer all-around energy efficiency and conservation services ranging from energy audits and energy saving solutions to project management and supplier matchmaking.

More than 70,000 Hong Kong businesses own factory operations in Guangdong. Faced with ever-increasing operating costs and new energy efficiency and environmental regulations, many of them have expressed an interest in the new energy service, according to CLP.

Speaking at a Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce event in Hong Kong earlier this year, CLP planning director S.H. Chan dispelled the myth that energy supply firms do not want to promote energy efficiency, citing the economic theory that increased energy efficiency actually increases energy consumption. “We have been looking at energy audits [of our customers] for a long time,” he said. “We look for long term development, sustainable development. If every unit our customers] consume is value for money, we can convince them that using electricity is good for their business.”

On the other hand, he said, inefficient or wasteful electricity consumption would ultimately be bad for the utility business. “If [electricity consumption] is wasteful, and the economy [declines] we will lose customers,” said Chan.

Speaking at the new company opening ceremony in the border city of Shenzhen, new chairman Chow Tang-fai said energy efficiency and conservation remains one of CLP’s key strategies.

“This new initiative reaffirms CLP’s commitment to promoting energy efficiency as one of its key climate strategies outlined in the Group’s Climate Vision 2050. This is set against the backdrop of increasing needs in energy efficiency and conservation in the Pearl River Delta,” said Chow.

Pollution To Rob Festival Moon Of Magic

The Standard – Monday, August 18, 2008 – Grace Tsoi

Hong Kong has become 1,000 times brighter than countries such as the United States, a problem which stargazers say may rob the full moon of some of its magic during the Mid-Autumn Festival.

According to research by the Hong Kong Astronomical Society, light pollution in the territory is so serious that only the brightest objects such as Venus can be seen. But not only light pollution is lowering Hong Kongers’ chances of enjoying a bright full moon – there is also the matter of air pollution.

Instead of a clear dazzling full moon, what may be seen is a “yellow” moon, according to astronomy consultant Ricky Tsui Lik-to. It is not a “normal moon,” he said, adding the moon’s natural color as seen from Earth is white, but pollutants in the air act like a filter, giving it a yellow tinge.

His advise for people wanting to watch a dazzling white moon is to switch off unnecessary lights. Stargazers also said switching off the lights can lower emissions of greenhouse gases, which are the culprits behind global warming.

The Tai Po Environmental Association and Kadoorie Farm and Botanical Garden have started a “Lights-off Moon-on” drive in which people are encouraged to switch off decorative lights. The association said people can contribute toward reducing emissions by switching to fluorescent lights. It said a household using five compact fluorescent lamps can reduce emissions by 0.1 tonnes a year. The commercial sector, according to the association, can also do more by switching off lights, especially on billboards when they are not in use.

The group said a 3,000-watt bulb switched off for three hours each day over a year can reduce carbon dioxide emission by one tonne.

What Do You Think Of Air-Con Levels?

Updated on Aug 18, 2008 – SCMP

Despite the high temperatures on the streets of the city during the summer, it is not surprising to see a lot of people carrying a jacket on their way to work, because their offices are so cold. Our shopping malls are also freezing.

Having to go from the extreme heat to the extreme cold is not good for our health, and having the air conditioners in these malls at such low temperatures is damaging the environment. I appreciate we all get into the habit of turning our air conditioners on automatically when it is warm. But the fact is we are using them too often and relying on them too much. We could at least increase the temperature a bit, as it makes no sense for people to be sitting in their offices wearing jackets and sneezing with the cold.

We are wasting too much money and energy and accelerating the pace of global warming. And obviously, as the planet gets warmer, we risk being subjected to more extreme weather patterns and more natural disasters. We need to recognise these risks and adopt the appropriate lifestyle changes.

The government should promote energy-saving measures. It should urge organisations to pay more attention to indoor room temperatures of offices and other indoor areas. Firms have to appreciate that if they introduce energy-saving measures it will reduce their costs. They also have to be made aware of their social responsibilities.

Parents also have a role to play. They should educate their children so they grow up with good habits.

Emily Lau Lai-fan, Ngau Tau Kok

China To Adjust Energy Strategy


BEIJING, Aug 18, 2008 (AsiaPulse via COMTEX) —

China will probably adjust energy strategy to cope with the situation that the LNG price is expected to surpass oil price soon.

According to the supervision data from the Ministry of Commerce of China, energy price on August 4-10 dropped by 0.7 per cent from the previous week with oil price and LNG price down 1.8 per cent and 1.1 per cent, respectively. The oil price and LNG price in the week (July 28 to Aug. 3) decreased, respectively, by 2.0 per cent and 1.2 per cent from the previous week. This has signified smaller differentiation between the oil and LNG price with smaller decrease of the latter one.

The growing consumption of LNG supports the price hike of LNG. According to BP, the global consumption of LNG surged by 3.1 per cent, 3 times the increase of oil consumption.

Besides, lower carbon dioxide release of LNG than crude oil and coal makes LNG very popular in many countries.

Therefore, LNG price is expected to surpass oil price with its ascending position in global energy market and growing demand on Asian and European markets, according to energy ministers of many countries and specialists.

Cambridge Energy Research Association estimated that LNG price might increase to 730 U.S. dollars per cubic meter in April 2009 from 350 dollars per cubic meter at the beginning of this year.

The global price hike of LNG imposes greater pressure on China’s LNG import. It is suggested that China should involve in the market once the LNG price falls back.

Huadian Plans Wind-Power Venture

Updated on Aug 12, 2008 – SCMP

Huadian plans wind-power venture with sister company

Huadian Power International Corp, a unit of the mainland’s fourth-biggest electricity producer, will form a wind-power joint venture with a unit of its parent China Huadian Corp to tap the nation’s rising demand for clean energy. Huadian Power would have a 75 per cent stake and Huadian Hong Kong 25 per cent in the venture with an investment of 485.6 million yuan (HK$553.8 million), the Beijing- based company said in a filing with the Hong Kong stock exchange yesterday. The venture would build and operate the Phase I Inner Mongolia Yihetala Wind Power Project, the statement said. Bloomberg

EDF And Guangdong Power Firm To Build Two Reactors

Updated on Aug 12, 2008 – SCMP

Electricite de France, Europe’s biggest power producer, has signed a final agreement with China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding to form a joint venture that will build and operate two nuclear power reactors. EDF would take a 30 per cent stake in Guangdong Taishan Nuclear Power Joint Venture, the French company said yesterday. EDF and Guangdong Nuclear plan to build two European pressurised water reactors in Guangdong, according to the statement.

Areva, the world’s biggest maker of nuclear reactors, and Alstom had signed contracts with Guangdong Nuclear to supply nuclear equipment and turbines, EDF said. The first reactor would start operating at the end of 2013 and the second in 2015, it said. Bloomberg

National Nuclear Targets 2014

Updated on Aug 12, 2008 – SCMP

National Nuclear targets 2014 light-up date for Hainan plant

China National Nuclear Corp, the country’s biggest operator of nuclear power plants, will start construction of a 1,300-megawatt station in Hainan province by the end of next year. The plant in Changjiang county will start commercial operations at the end of 2014, China National Nuclear said in a statement posted on the website of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission. It gave no further details.

China National Nuclear last month said it had won initial approval from the central government to build the plant. The mainland is turning to less-polluting options to coal which generate almost 80 per cent of the nation’s electricity. Bloomberg

Khazanah In Mainland Clean Energy Project

Bloomberg – Updated on Aug 09, 2008

Khazanah Nasional, the Malaysian government’s US$25 billion investment fund, will form a venture on the mainland to tap the potential of a country poised to lead the world in the manufacture of renewable-energy products.

Khazanah will invest US$150 million over three years in a venture to develop at least eight municipal waste-to-energy projects on the mainland with Beijing China Sciences General Energy and Environment, the Kuala Lumpur-based company said in a statement yesterday, declining to provide equity details.

The investment is the Malaysian fund’s first in the environment-related industry which is “booming with sector investment growth of about 40 per cent year on year”, said Khazanah managing director Azman Mokhtar.

“For a major developing nation like China, the need to meet its thirst for energy while minimising environment pollution is of paramount importance and a fine balance.”

China, the biggest emitter of climate-altering greenhouse gases, is already the largest global maker of solar cells, wind power turbines, low-carbon energy technology and other renewable-energy products, the Climate Group said in a report.

Premier Wen Jiabao wants the government to invest 2 trillion yuan (HK$2.28 trillion) by 2020 to increase the proportion of renewable energy in the total amount of energy used while developing hydropower, biomass fuel, wind and solar-generated electricity.

The mainland wants renewable energy to cater for 15 per cent of the country’s total primary energy consumption by 2020, from 8 per cent now.

Power generated from municipal waste sources may increase 15 times to 3,000 megawatts from about 200 MW now, according to the country’s target.

Khazanah, the majority partner in its venture with Beijing China Sciences, is in the process of buying a project with 800 tonnes a day of installed capacity, with “three or four more in the pipeline”, Mr Mokhtar said.

Spotlight Dimming On Eco-Power

Installing solar panels to generate electricity is a worthy but costly alternative for Hong Kong homeowners

Elizabeth Horscroft – SCMP – Updated on Aug 06, 2008

When environmentalist John Rempel asked a supplier of photovoltaic (PV) panels to install them at his Discovery Bay home, the reply surprised him. “I was advised by the seller not to install solar panels,” he recalled. The reason given was that they were not cost-effective, with payback taking 20 years or more.

Instead, he was advised to install a solar powered thermal water heater, a system that could pay for itself in less than three years.

Ironically, his supplier Alan Li, director of Red Sun Energy Saving Equipment, continues to give this advice despite being in the business of selling solar panels.

He explained that until the government offered subsidies for installation of small-scale renewable energy systems, as was common in Europe and North America (with up to 30 per cent subsidies in some countries), it just did not make sense. He said no one was pushing the government to do so.

Homeowners in Spain, Italy, Germany, France and Greece can also sell their excess solar generated energy to the power grid to help pay for their systems.

“It won’t happen here because CLP [Power] won’t buy this little power from the homeowner’s power system,” Mr Li said. The capacity of most small renewable energy systems is less than 200kW of electricity, according to CLP.

Although cost is the major stumbling block to increasing PV usage – a clean, quiet, low maintenance and limitless power source – industry experts say lack of knowledge about solar power’s potential is another reason for its lack of popularity in sunny Hong Kong.

One more obvious obstacle is that few people live in houses with ample rooftop space. Phillip Walker, director of ESS, an international distributor of renewable energy systems, said: “Hospitals and schools have more PV potential but I wouldn’t discourage anyone from trying.”

Determined solar panel enthusiasts can still make a go of it. CLP said 22 private households had connected their PV systems to the electricity grid, while Hongkong Electric also had a few. Interestingly, three more have successfully connected wind and biogas powered systems.

Sai Kung resident and lawyer Tim Hallworth is investigating the viability of installing a PV system on the rooftop of a property he is renovating. He estimates that he will need a 3,000W system, the equivalent of a 5-metre by 6-metre panel.

After reductions for shade, not facing south, losses through the wiring, cabling and converter, the efficiency can drop to as low as 1,500W, enough to power a split-level air-conditioner for 1-1/2 hours. That efficiency will diminish over time.

“The technology is just not there yet,” Mr Walker said from his car phone en route to Shenzhen to visit a solar panel factory. “You only do it if you are environmentally conscious and have money.” Or connections.

“I can buy the system direct at a discount,” he said. This would cost him HK$195,000, not including installation and maintenance. The retail price for a 300kW system with 18 panels is about HK$250,000 for a complete package and a version of 400kW with 40 panels is about HK$500,000.

But, in the 20 years it would take for payback, the environmentally unfriendly battery cells will need replacement and the technology will probably be redundant – as newer, more efficient PV systems become available.

Still, eco-warriors press on. And those who do, soon discover that there are even more costs and considerations associated with installation. Homeowners must ensure that the system complies with the technical and safety requirements of the government’s Electrical and Mechanical Services Department. They must also work with various government departments and consultants to legally install a solar panel system.

Tannil Lam, regional manager of RPT, a renewable energy consultancy with design and installation capacity, said: “It is certainly an extra cost which the client must pay for.”

There are also costs associated with the application process to connect the renewable energy system to the electricity grid, something most people will need to do because the PV power will probably fall short of total consumption needs, and will only serve as a backup. CLP and Hongkong Electric have set procedures and fees for gaining approval for the connection.

A CLP spokesman said: “It varies according to the actual hours expended … but it would only contribute to a very small portion of the project cost.”

Mr Rempel takes issue with having to get permission to produce his own renewable energy.

He pointed out that this year the government would review the scheme of control that restricted that right. This is the government’s chance to promote independent grid-connect systems and initiate subsidies. It is about money, but given the pollution levels it does not make sense. A wealthy city, such as Hong Kong, should embrace renewable energy resources.

A solar panel salesman once told Mr Hallworth that buying PV panels was like buying a yacht, “You don’t save anything. Just enjoy it because it has no resale value”.

Perhaps we should invest in them for a better future.

Path to efficiency

Steps to connect your small renewable energy system to the CLP Power grid for backup and additional electricity needs.

  • Initial discussion and application A discussion of a system’s potential commercial, technical and operational impact. Information intended to help select the most suitable technology and system based on your needs.
  • Assessment Technical and commercial assessments by CLP to ensure safety measures are in place.
  • Technical requirements Changes may be proposed to the system based on CLP’s technical specifications. An agreement defining CLP and the homeowner’s responsibilities will be signed.
  • Construction Build and install the system. CLP provides assistance to ensure the technical and safety requirements are met.
  • Testing CLP engineers witness commissioning test on the system.
  • Insurance Homeowners must have a policy to protect them and CLP from potential liability in case the system causes damage or injury to others. While private residents must pay for this themselves, CLP recognises it is a hurdle for schools and non-profit organisations and will arrange public liability coverage for them.
  • Responsibilities Ongoing responsibilities for system connection to grid and safe operation and maintenance of the system will be spelled out in the agreement.

CLP Targets Guangdong In Energy-Saving Push

Denise Tsang – SCMP – Updated on Aug 06, 2008

CLP Holdings, the larger of Hong Kong’s two electricity suppliers, has plunged into the rapidly growing energy-saving services business in Guangdong, which is grappling with persistent power shortages and stubbornly high fuel prices.

The utility, which exports electricity to the energy-hungry province, sees growing demand for using power more efficiently and economically, according to CLP Energy Services & Technology (Shenzhen) chairman Chow Tang-fai.

However, he conceded that promoting more efficient use of energy was an arduous task, given the exodus of factories in Guangdong and the costs involved.

“Saving energy does not necessarily involve exponential investment. The effort can be as little as stopping waste and recycling heat and air,” said Mr Chow, who launched the service yesterday. “Most companies in Guangdong have a high level of awareness about energy savings, but the problem is a lack of know-how.”

Citing the findings of a CLP survey of about 600 Hong Kong companies operating across the border, he said businesses on average could save at least 10 per cent of their utility costs.

The need for more efficient use of power is growing as the state seeks sustainable growth by tightening environmental requirements.

The central government is trying to eliminate industries that consume too much energy, pollute the environment and are resource-intensive. It also has set ambitious targets for reducing energy use and emissions.

The programme calls for cutting energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product by 4 per cent annually from 2006 to 2010. But energy demand remained so strong that one in three provinces or municipalities failed to meet the target last year, the National Bureau of Statistics revealed last month.

Industrialised Guangdong had only a 3.15 per cent decrease last year.

Mr Chow said every user could make better use of energy by improving its lighting, motor-driven and heating systems, as well as recovering waste heat.

He cited the case of a Hong Kong-owned garment producer in Guangdong with 5,000 workers, which he did not identify. The firm saved 5 million yuan (HK$5.7 million) or 10 per cent of its total utility expenses after adopting about 20 initiatives to better utilise electricity, he said.

Most of the initiatives did not involve new investments and those that did were expected to recoup their costs in three years.

However, some analysts saw stumbling blocks in promoting energy-saving initiatives. About 20,000 of 65,000 Hong Kong-owned processing factories were expected to go bust this year, victims of rising raw material and fuel costs, power shortages, a stronger yuan and stringent environmental requirements.

Analysts said insufficient funding support and a lack of vision about sustainable development were key challenges.