On 19 March 2013, the Hong Kong government environment
department issued a public consultation paper on the city's
future fuel resources mix for electricity generation inquiring the
public whether to significantly increase the natural gas
consumption or to import electricity from China Southern Power Grid
Co. Limited (CSG) in order to meet the city's growing demand
for electricity considering safety, reliability, cost and
environmental performance etc.
Regarding energy sources to power Hong Kong in 2012, coal
dominated the overall fuel mix (53%), followed by nuclear
electricity imported from Daya Bay Nuclear Power Station (DBNPS) in
the Mainland (23%), natural gas (22%), and oil and renewable energy
(2%). Because coal is the most polluted energy resources, Hong Kong
has not allowed power companies to build new coal-fired electricity
generating units since 1997, and the current units will be phased
out eventually in the future according to the government. However,
the power demand of Hong Kong has been growing at an average rate
of 1%-2% per annum in recent years. Therefore, plan must be
carefully made ahead to meet the gap between demand and
To fill the gap left over by the retirement schedule of
coal-fired electricity generating units, the authority concluded
their plan with two options to select with. Plan A is to purchase
50% of Hong Kong's electricity demand from the Mainland with
the remaining 50% to be generated locally. In Plan B, Hong Kong is
to generate 80% of its demand locally, and the remaining 20% will
be purchased from DBNPS.
In both Plans, Hong Kong will rely heavily on natural gas that
40% and 60% of the total electricity demand will be generated by
natural gas in Plan A and Plan B respectively. The real
consideration and difference are regarding the 30% of Hong Kong
future electricity demand. Plan A covers this demand through
purchase from Mainland CSG while Plan B keeps the 30% capacity
locally at the expense of burning 50% more natural gas and consume
the double amount of coal in comparison with the former plan.
Cleaner air is the top consideration for the proposed energy
plan. To improve air quality, Hong Kong has made a lot effort. With
respect to the legislation respect, from 2015 merchant vessels will
be compelled by law to use bunker containing less than 0.005%
sulphur while staying in Hong Kong waters, and power plants are
obliged to reduce emissions gradually as the government has been
progressively tightening up the statutory emission caps for SO2,
NOX and RSP. Regarding Plan A, it seems to be the cleaner option
that significantly reduces the consumption of coal and natural gas.
However, Plan A will damage Hong Kong's local employment in
comparison with Plan B. It is interesting to see how Hong Kong will
decide upon those conflicting interests for its energy policy of
the next ten years.
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