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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

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