Lamma Island

Greens dismiss wind turbine test as trivial

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 17 September, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 17 September, 2005, 12:00am

Hong Kong's first wind turbine has been successfully erected on Lamma Island and tests are scheduled to be carried out next Saturday.

Hongkong Electric did not rule out the possibility of building a second turbine but said it had to carefully assess the operation data collected from the $15 million project before investing further.

However, Greenpeace climate campaigner Gloria Chang Wan-ki described the project as 'trivial'.

'The local power companies have not woken up to the fact that they are lagging far behind their counterparts elsewhere in the world as the wind-power market has been growing exponentially in recent years,' she said.

The 71-metre-tall turbine stands on a hill top in Tai Ling, about 45 minutes' walk from the island's main village of Yung Shue Wan on a site leased from the government.

The 800kW turbine, due to start operating in January, can generate 1GWh of electricity a year. The turbine will be connected to the existing power grid and monitored by engineers at the Lamma power station.

But the electricity produced is just about 0.0001 per cent of the total generated by the power company in a year. It could save 350 tonnes of coal a year or 0.008 per cent of the 4 million tonnes of coal burnt by Hongkong Electric annually.

Cheung Nai-yik, chief projects engineer at Hongkong Electric, said th project would provide valuable data to assess whether large developments of wind power were feasible in Hong Kong.

'We have to gauge exactly how much electricity is generated by that and how much is produced at what wind speeds,' he said.

But he said there were constraints on erecting a group of wind turbines as at least a distance of 400 metres between each was required to ensure optimal wind power for power generation.

The turbine can only operate in wind speeds of at least 3 metres a second and at its best operates at 14 metres a second. The turbine will stop automatically if the wind velocity hits 25 metres a second.

CLP Power, the territory's biggest power producer, is still collecting wind data from Kai Sau Chau in Sai Kung and Hei Ling Chau in south Lantau to identify a favourable site for a wind farm.

The group has pledged to achieve a target of generating 5 per cent of its electricity from wind power by 2010.