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Letters to the Editor: Expensive, unsightly wind farms will have tiny impact on carbon footprint


Last updated: March 21, 2010

Source: South China Morning Post

I refer to the article concerning the plans by power firms’ CL Power and Hongkong Electric (SEHK: 0006) to pump HK$10 billion into offshore wind farms (“Clearly inadequate”, March 14).

I have to question the wisdom of these proposals.

Not content with defacing Lamma with the Hongkong Electric power plant which was constructed in the 1980s, these companies now want to despoil great tracts of sea near some of Hong Kong’s beautiful outlying islands with gigantic wind farms – one between Lamma and Cheung Chau and the other off Sai Kung.

As the article effectively confirmed, the economics concerning these options just do not make sense: “So, for about HK$10 billion, the two wind farms would produce at best about 1.5 per cent of Hong Kong’s electricity and reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by less than 2 per cent.” Therefore, they will do little to make the city greener or its skies cleaner and they will have a negligible effect on the city’s carbon footprint and air quality.

If it really is necessary to satisfy the political desire to meet the 2005 report produced by the Council for Sustainable Development for 1 to 2 per cent of Hong Kong’s electricity to be generated by renewable energy by 2012 by focusing on the wind farm method, then a more appropriate location for locating the wind farms should be chosen.

Somewhere such as, for example, the southwestern coast of the New Territories where the existing power stations of Black Point and Castle Peak are located may work.

Even wind turbines around Castle Peak itself may be more of an acceptable eyesore than ruining the view near Lamma, Cheung Chau and Sai Kung.

A far better solution is to ditch the idea of wind farms altogether.

With the cleanest power from an air pollution perspective being nuclear, we should instead source what Hong Kong needs from the mainland’s future nuclear power stations that the central government plans to build.

What is required is a leap of imagination.

Unfortunately it is not to be found with the wind farm proposals that have been put forward.

Nick Seymour, Kennedy Town

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