POWER TO THE PEO PLE

Hong Kong Tatler - - Features -

Just five years ago, Hong Kong’s power plants, which are fired by coal and nat­u­ral gas, were its great­est source of the air pol­lu­tants sul­phur diox­ide and ni­tro­gen ox­ides. Since then, emis­sions have plum­meted even as elec­tric­ity con­sump­tion has risen, after the gov­ern­ment im­posed de­creas­ing an­nual caps on the plants’ emis­sions from 2008. To meet the tar­gets, elec­tric­ity com­pa­nies fit­ted a range of “scrub­ber” tech­nolo­gies that have cut the plants’ out­put of harm­ful chem­i­cals and par­ti­cles. The only way to clean up power gen­er­a­tion fur­ther, says Loh, is to change the fuel mix, to which coal con­trib­utes 53 per cent at present. “We are now look­ing at re­duc­ing coal for lo­cal elec­tric­ity gen­er­a­tion as a mat­ter of pol­icy,” she says, and the gov­ern­ment plans to com­pletely phase out coal-gen­er­ated elec­tric­ity. There are two op­tions on the ta­ble: re­plac­ing coal gen­er­a­tion with hy­dropower im­ported from the main­land, and phas­ing out coal in favour of nat­u­ral gas for lo­cal gen­er­a­tion. In­creas­ing en­ergy ef­fi­ciency, as dis­cussed later un­der ur­ban plan­ning, is also a key fac­tor in fur­ther re­duc­ing emis­sions.

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