Cautious welcome for wind farm

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 04 June, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 04 June, 2009, 12:00am

Green groups have given a cautious welcome to a proposed wind farm off Sai Kung, with some worried about the impact on the environment.

Prentice Koo Wai-muk, a Green- peace campaigner, said: 'The project is clearly a milestone, though it has come a bit late compared to what has been achieved in China and Europe.'

The 200-megawatt wind farm, proposed by CLP Power and Wind Prospect, would be situated 10km off Sai Kung, with up to 67 wind turbines built on a muddy seabed 30 metres deep.

The power generated would amount to about 1 per cent of the city's electricity demand.

An environmental impact assessment report on the project released yesterday said the site chosen was one of a few remaining areas found suitable to accommodate the farm because of physical limitations.

James Wong, a member of the Sai Kung Association, said that while in principle it supported renewable energy, he was cautious about the ecological impact of the project. The association will further study the report with other concern groups.

'A brief study into the impact assessment report gives me the impression that the project is too good to be true. But we still have doubts as to what extent the report reflects the real situation. Sometimes, the devil is in the detail,' he said.

WWF Hong Kong senior conservation officer Alan Leung Sze-lun questioned whether a bird survey in the assessment was detailed enough. 'One of the problems is that the survey was only conducted in daytime, while most birds actually migrate in the nighttime,' he said.

According to the report, about 57 bird species were found in the survey, including the locally rare white-bellied sea eagle. But it said the birds' flight path would not cross the wind farm and the risks of collision with the wind turbines were low.

The assessment also found marine mammals around the work area, such as the finless porpoise and false killer whale. But it said such sightings were few and sporadic.

Some coral communities were found near the work site at Victor Rock. The report proposed mitigation measures when laying an undersea power cable linking to the grid in Tseung Kwan O.