Hongkong Electric

Second offshore wind farm planned

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 04 July, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 04 July, 2006, 12:00am

Hongkong Electric joins CLP Power in green energy push

Hongkong Electric has proposed building a 100 megawatt wind farm off Lamma Island or the Ninepin Islands.

Plans for the wind farm, intended to begin supplying power in 2012, were announced yesterday when the company submitted an environmental impact assessment plan to the government.

The proposed farm would supply 1.6 per cent of Hongkong Electric's total annual output.

It is the second offshore wind farm proposed this year. CLP Power and partner Wind Prospect proposed a 150 megawatt wind farm, also off the Ninepin Islands.

One of Hongkong Electric's potential sites is 3.5km southwest of Lamma. The other is about 3km southeast of Ninepin Islands, close to the site proposed by CLP Power and Wind Prospect.

Hongkong Electric plans to build up to 40 triple-bladed turbines anchored to the seabed, each with a generating capacity of 2.5 megawatts.

Hongkong Electric's proposed farm is smaller than CLP Power's, but it would be able to produce 175 million kilowatt hours of electricity each year, enough to supply 50,000 families.

'The project is undertaken in support of the government's policy of having 1 to 2 per cent of electricity generated by renewable energy by 2012,' said Hongkong Electric chief engineer Tso Che-wah. 'As land resources are scarce, the development of offshore wind farms is the only viable option.'

Power companies are entitled to up to 11 per cent return on investment in renewable energy under the regulatory review proposed by the government to promote clean energy.

Hongkong Electric has yet to do environmental impact studies on the project's construction and operational phases.

Cable routing will also be studied before detailed wind monitoring is carried out.

The Lamma site has the advantage of being close to the company's power plant and grid, and the sea is shallower there than at Ninepin Islands.

But its winds are not as good as those at Ninepin.

CLP Power expects construction of its 50 wind turbines, each with 3 megawatts of generating capacity, to start by 2009 and generation to begin by 2011.

A spokesman for Hongkong Electric said its site would not interfere with CLP Power's project.

But CLP Power's partner, Wind Prospect, has expressed alarm at Hongkong Electric's plans.

'We did not anticipate there would be another wind farm nearby when we designed ours,' a spokesman for Wind Prospect said. 'We really need to look at what they propose before we can assess the situation.'

He said extra wind farms would affect navigation routes and the layout of their farm.

'Marine officials will have headaches with the possibility of so many wind turbines to be built there,' he said.