Work with power companies to become energy-efficient city
Edwin Lau Che-feng of Friends of the Earth (HK) makes a good case for lowering power consumption ('Lower demand part of wind power strategy', July 17). I would like to keep this dialogue going in a constructive way.
The starting point is to note that large power stations are inherently inefficient but they do fulfil our increasing demands for energy. They are not unlike computers, which went from 'mainframe' to 'cloud computing', that is, decreases in size, increases in numbers. This is a normal innovation trend towards self-managing systems. In terms of power, this requires the development of the so-called 'smart grid'. Eventually the technology will allow for power to be generated at the point of use. Imagine air-conditioners replaced by multi-purpose generators which provide power for lights, personal computers and fridges and sell excess power back to the grid.
The power company can then run its generators at the most efficient load and rely on hundreds of thousands of distributed generators to kick in automatically when needed for peak loads. Energy savings of up to 50 per cent are within our reach now, and this will increase as the technology develops. Building this new infrastructure will take time and money. Demand is also part of the equation. Buildings are being designed and constructed that offer massive savings in energy by using wind turbines, efficient heating, cooling and ventilation systems designs and different glass walls. Singapore has been doing this for years. Regulators and developers play key roles here.
A constructive way to approach this is to work with power companies, regulators, developers and innovators towards making Hong Kong 'Asia's energy-efficient world city'.
The dividend for everyone is massive - the investment bonanza from financing it; the return on the intellectual property involved; the manufacturing dividend to build the equipment; the construction dividend from installing it and a community health dividend. We are probably the best placed of any city in the world to do this. So why don't we?
Jeremy Kidner, Central