Expert sees planned new energy mix as ill-advised

PUBLISHED : Monday, 27 June, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 27 June, 2011, 12:00am


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Hong Kong consumes a large amount of electricity annually. According to figures compiled by China Light and Power and Hongkong Electric, the city consumed 44,879 gigawatt hours last year from three main sources: coal, gas and nuclear energy.

Figures showed the percentage of the fuel mix of the three sources were 48, 30 and 22, respectively.

To tackle carbon emissions, the government has proposed that by 2020 the mix be adjusted to 10, 40 and 50.

Yet the increased dependence on nuclear energy worries some people after the recent disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan.

'Nuclear power should not be used as a major source of supply for Hong Kong,' says Dr Tso Che-wah, ex-chairman of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers Hong Kong.

'After the Fukushima meltdown, the safety of nuclear plants has become a big concern. Although nuclear power is the cleanest and most environmental friendly, it needs to be handled properly with stringent measures of safety. If anything goes wrong, it will be catastrophic for Hong Kong.'

Tso thinks the right fuel mix should be based on availability, safety, environmental friendliness, and affordability - in that order.

Cutting the use of coal to just 10 per cent would not be practical since coal is the most reliable and cheapest source, he said.

While many environmentalists favour the use of renewable energy, Tso points to practical concerns.

'Hong Kong doesn't have the specific geographic and physical conditions for building wind turbines or solar panels,' he said.