Author: Tang Ming Chung, Kelvin, LLB IV; HKU
Power companies have phased retrofit plans to lower emissions, such as flue gas desulphurization and catalytic reduction, though the government states these measures will not be enough for Hong Kong to meet its emissions targets. (1)
In promoting renewable energy, Hong Kong Electric commissioned the first local commercial scale wind power station on Lamma Island in February 2006. China Light and Power was granted an Environmental Permit for their commercial scale wind power station at Hei Ling Chau on 15 March 2007. Furthermore, the new Scheme of Control Agreements have provided for a higher rate of return of 11% for their investment in renewable energy facilities; a bonus in the range of 0.01% to 0.05% in permitted return depending on the extent of renewable energy usage in their electricity generation; and grid connection arrangement will be standardised for backup power supply for customers with embedded renewable generation. (2)
On projects retrofitting emission reduction devices, the Environmental Protection Department granted Environmental Permits on 25 April 2006 and 2 October 2007 for Hong Kong Electric to retrofit flue gas desulphurisation (FGD) system to two 350 MW coal-fired units and one 250 MW coal-fired unit (unit L2) in their Lamma Power Station. China Light and Power was also granted an Environmental Permit on 10 November 2006 for its retrofit project of FGD and selective catalytic reduction (SCR) systems to four 677 MW coal-fired units (units B1 to B4) in Castle Peak Power Station. (2)
On the wider use of natural gas, Hong Kong Electric commissioned its first gas-fired unit by end June 2006 and put it into commercial operation in October 2006. The overall emissions from Hong Kong Electric were reduced after the full operation of this gas-fired unit.
For the China Light and Power’s proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) receiving terminal, the Environmental Protection Department granted an Environmental Permit on 3 April 2007 with conditions including stringent environmental requirements and mitigating measures. The Government will also consider the feasibility of having gas supply from other natural gas or LNG projects in the region. The Envir
onmental Protection Department has yet to make a decision on China Light and Power’s natural gas supply proposal. The Government will carefully examine the proposal and will agree to it only if China Light and Power can prove that all of the relevant considerations are reasonable and acceptable. (2)
China Light and Power is in the process of converting to natural gas and liquefied natural gas by 2013. It is also investigating the potential of offshore wind power generation in Hong Kong, and has launched the "Climate Vision 2050" in late 2007, and set in its Manifesto an ambitious target to reduce the carbon emissions intensity of its generating portfolio by 75% by 2050. Both these initiatives are intended to address climate change.
Hong Kong Electric has acquired a number of electric and hybrid vehicles with an ambition of supporting electrification in the transport sector which in turns improve the air quality. A total of 6 air monitoring stations were installed by Hong Kong Electric in the south of Hong Kong Island and in Cheung Chau to monitor the impact of Lamma Power Station on the ambient air quality.
In January 2007, Hong Kong and Guangdong launched the implementation framework of the Emissions Trading Pilot Scheme for Thermal Power Plants in the Pearl River Delta Region (Pilot Scheme). (2) The HKSAR Government has been collaborating with the Economic and Trade Commission of Guangdong Province on promoting energy efficiency and cleaner production to the industrial enterprises in both places. In August 2007, the two governments signed the “Cooperation Agreement to Promote Energy Efficiency, Cleaner Production and Comprehensive Utilisation of Resources to Enterprises in Hong Kong and Guangdong”. Both sides also jointly conducted a series of promotion activities, technical exchanges and demonstration projects on cleaner production by industrial enterprises, and launched a five-year “Cleaner Production Partnership Programme” in April 2008 to encourage Hong Kong-owned factories operating in the Pearl River Delta region to adopt cleaner production technologies and practices, with a view to reducing emissions and enhancing energy efficiency. Furthermore, on 13 November 2008, the HKSAR Government signed a “Co-operation Agreement on Cleaner Production” between Hong Kong and Shenzhen” with the Shenzhen Environmental Protection Bureau to enhance joint effort of both governments in promoting cleaner production amongst factories in Shenzhen. (2)
In 2002, the Hong Kong Government reached a consensus with its Guangdong counterpart to reduce the emissions of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, respirable suspended particulates and volatile organic compounds in the Pearl River Delta by different extents. (3)
The EPD is introducing amendments to the Air Pollution Control Ordinance to ensure a smooth, timely and transparent implementation of the emission caps for the power plants by stipulating the emission caps under the Ordinance and allowing power plants to use emissions trading as an alternative means for achieving the emission caps for 2010 and beyond. (2)