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Emissions rise, but CLP vows to meet targets

emissionsLast updated: March 11, 2010

Source: South China Morning Post

CLP Power emitted more air pollutants and greenhouse gases last year as a result of more coal burning, but was confident of meeting the more stringent emission targets this year.

The city’s largest electricity supplier still complies with the 2009 emission caps set by the Environmental Protection Department, though the emission of three main air pollutants – nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide, and particulate mattergrew by 6 per cent, 20 per cent and 30 per cent respectively last year.

The carbon dioxide released by local power generation also rose by 6 per cent, to 19 million tonnes.

The power firm said the increases were only “temporary fluctuations” and blamed dwindling reserves at the gas field in Yacheng, Hainan province, for the shift.

The field has been supplying natural gas to CLP Power since 1996 but is expected to run out by 2012. Replacement supplies are expected to be ready by no later than 2013.

“We have to carefully allocate the natural gas and that’s why we deliberately cut the intake to save the gas until 2013 when the new supplies are ready,” Lo Pak-cheong, commercial director of the CLP Power, said.

About 44.5 per cent of the CLP’s fuel mix last year was coal, compared to 41 per cent in 2008. Natural gas accounted for 24.7 per cent and nuclear energy 30.6 per cent.

Lo said the surging coal price in 2008 had led to supply shortage worldwide. As a result, the company had to increase gas intake in 2008, which also explained why emission levels were lower that year.

Lo could not say if CLP would continue to use less gas this year. But he was confident the company would meet the 2010 emission targets – a set of goals for main pollutants agreed by Hong Kong and Guangdong authorities. This was because two of the four coal-fired generation units at the firm’s Castle Peak Power Station would be equipped by end this year with emission control devices that could cut sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions by up to 90 per cent and 50 per cent respectively.

Written by Cheung Chi-fai

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