Wind farm off Lamma passes hurdle
Hongkong Electric has cleared one of the hurdles to erecting wind turbines in waters off Lamma after the government's environmental advisers gave the green light to the project.
With approval of the environmental impact assessment from the Advisory Council on the Environment, the next step for the power firm will be a formal application to the Environment Bureau for the multibillion-dollar green energy project.
But the company will still have to fulfil conditions attached to the council's consent to minimise the environmental impact of the project during construction and operation. A key condition is that Hongkong Electric should not conduct piling work from December to May, which is the peak sighting season for the finless porpoise in the area. It should also improve monitoring of piling noise at nearby sites and underground noise levels at selected locations.
The power firm had said it could not adopt the non-piling method known as suction caisson, to be used by CLP Power to build another offshore wind farm near the Ninepin Islands in Sai Kung, because the seabed was not soft enough.
The council also requires the secretary for the environment to closely monitor the fuel mix used for electricity generation to ensure that coal burning is be reduced proportionately after the wind energy project is completed.
Under the proposal, 28 to 35 wind turbines of up to 3.6 megawatts each will be erected in a 600-hectare area between Lamma and Cheung Chau. The total generating capacity will be about 100 megawatts, about 1.6 per cent of the power firm's generation.
The council also approved CLP Power's environmental impact assessment report for building two undersea gas pipelines linking its Black Point power station with a natural gas receiving depot in Shenzhen.