Renewable energy is the key to making Hong Kong a developed eco-city

PUBLISHED : Monday, 08 June, 2015, 5:19pm
UPDATED : Monday, 08 June, 2015, 6:13pm

The public consultation on the development of Hong Kong's electricity market will end this month.

In its 80-plus pages, the consultation document had intensively documented the various comments and concerns raised by the public in relation to the electricity market However, it miserably failed to provide any concrete solutions in dealing with the issue of climate change and greenhouse gas emissions.

Climate change is a global phenomenon that is driven by the increase in greenhouse gases due to human activity. The use of fossil fuels and increased urbanisation are creating changes in our climatic conditions at an unprecedented rate. Global temperatures are now rising, erratic and extreme weather conditions such as typhoons and hailstorms are now a common occurrence throughout the world.

Being a coastal city, Hong Kong is extremely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. The director of the Hong Kong Observatory Shun Chi-ming announced that the average temperature of June to November last year was 27.6 degrees, the highest in 130 years. He said if the current climatic trends continue, at the end of the century, temperatures may rise by about three degrees Celsius to six degrees, and the mean sea level may rise by about one metre to more than three metres, and low-lying areas such as Tai O may be flooded.

In Hong Kong, electricity generation accounts for 70 per cent of total greenhouse gas emissions. The future development of the electricity market in Hong Kong is therefore very crucial to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. Sadly, the few suggestions offered in the paper are short-sighted and ineffective. Renewable energy offers excellent solutions in dealing with energy emissions, as well as providing a sustainable source of power in the long term. The government should be doing all it can to encourage the role of renewable energy generation in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong has very high potential to engage in renewable energy generation, which can definitely contribute more than 1 per cent of Hong Kong's power supply as suggested in the fuel fix consultation document. Making the power grid accessible to small-scale renewable energy generators requires immediate government support.

The priority access to the grid should be given to renewable energy generators so as to promote sustainability. For Hong Kong to become a sustainable, responsible and environmentally conscious example of a developed eco-city, renewable energy is the key sector.

Asmita Aarshi, project officer, Friends of the Earth (HK)