• Sun
  • Dec 28, 2014
  • Updated: 6:17am

China Southern Grid electricity imports could adversely affect cost and supply

PUBLISHED : Monday, 12 May, 2014, 3:08am
UPDATED : Monday, 12 May, 2014, 3:08am

I read with concern your editorial ("Energy plan can be made to work", May 7) where you asserted that "there is only a small difference in reliability of the output of CSG (China Southern Grid) and Hong Kong's two power companies".

You rightly pointed out that the supply reliability for Shenzhen and Guangzhou in 2012 was 99.98 per cent and 99.97 per cent respectively, but might have overlooked the meaning behind these figures. At 99.98 per cent, Shenzhen's power interruption is 1.1 hours and Guangzhou 1.8 hours.

In Hong Kong, our reliability is much higher at over 99.999 per cent. Power interruption on Hong Kong Island is less than one minute and in Kowloon and the New Territories less than two minutes. Such a minute-vs-hour comparison cannot be considered "a small difference".

Hong Kong is a densely populated vertical city with extensive mass transportation. Reliability cannot be compromised. You also suggested that "our electricity bills can be kept in check" if energy is produced in Guangdong, but this may only be wishful thinking.

Macau imports more than 90 per cent of its power from CSG. The price of the imported power increased by 27 per cent from 2008 to 2013. Macau's current domestic tariff is HK$1.31 per unit, or 30 per cent higher than ours.

As far as the environment is concerned, importing power is bound to increase emissions in Guangdong, contrary to your suggestion that pollution from power plants can be "reined in", because the marginal fuel to meet the added demand from Hong Kong will most likely be coal.

Again, Macau's experience sheds light. Its published carbon emission in 2012 was 918 grams per unit. This is 37 per cent higher than Hong Kong's 577 grams. Such high carbon emission is attributed to the high carbon content of the power imported from CSG. If Hong Kong followed suit, the regional carbon emission would rise, and not fall as your editorial might have implied.

We believe Hong Kong is capable of, and should shoulder responsibility in, reducing emission. This is the key objective of this fuel mix consultation.

Hong Kong is importing water from Dongjiang because it does not have adequate rainwater resources. Yet, we have been producing electricity locally for over 120 years and with a world-class record in quality and reliability. What works for water may not work for electricity, just as the two should not be mixed together.

C. T. Wan, managing director, HK Electric


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Anyone who has spent time in the mainland would question the reliability factors especially in the summer when there are roiling brownouts. Let's let HKE and CLP make their allowable ROI and continue to generate power here.
It's not ROI - you see - it's return on net fixed fixed assets. Ask a Mediocre Bookkeeper and Accountant (MBA) to explain the difference, and how this translates into an overemphasizing of "reliability" and hence overbuilding and gold-plating of HKs power supply system.
You're just another rabid hate-China basher. You're also likely an illiterate because you can't tell electricity generation from transmission.
Power failures are due to equipment and other operating factors on the power grid. Generating capacity during heavy usage will cause brownouts but not power failure.
Perhaps it's a waste of time to say this much to ein Dummkopf.
How About
How might we expect the MD of HKE to contribute anything meaningfully incisive to diversified power supplies from Guangdong? You have that pork barrel duopoloy for too long and it's time to move on, CO2 SO2 or not, HK deserves to have more choices. I am willing to bet with you and CLP on HK's 2014-2015 GDP, that HKE will be the first provider to drop your energy tariff once the government decides to buy from Guangdong.
Mr. Wan,
Your arguments can't hide your vested interest.
You said Macau's tariff is 30% higher than ours. What you don't tell us is the breakdown into transmission and generating costs. For all I know, Macau utilities might have a much higher cost for its transmission grid. We are buying generation, not transmission.
Let's talk about carbon emission. Are you saying you can actually distinguish CO2 molecules between power generation and emission from polluting factories in Pearl River Delta? If true, you are due for a Nobel Prize.
Your argument about blackout rate is also all wet. We don't know whether power failure figures cited are due to the grid or equipment. We are buying output from their excessive generating capacity but not leasing grid and equipment. Besides, with more electric power supply to our transmission grid, blackouts are likely to be even less frequent.
Building more generating capacity benefits your tariff base. But our utility bills will take a big hit from your heavy capital expenditures down the road.
don't know about importing, they are already here, as previously reported
"CLP Power, & state-owned China Southern Power Grid (CSG), will each pay HK$12 billion to acquire Exxon Mobil's 60 per cent stake in Castle Peak Power Company (Capco). After the transaction, CLP's stake in Capco - which owns three power plants in Hong Kong - will jump from 40 per cent to 70 per cent. CSG will hold the remaining 30 per cent"
Of course building the interconnection infrastructure means that CLP will be allowed to charge us more for its local product under the scheme of control.


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