• Fri
  • Aug 29, 2014
  • Updated: 12:29am
NewsHong Kong
ENERGY

Hong Kong business groups give thumbs down to electricity imports from mainland

Business groups oppose proposal to buy 30pc of Hong Kong's electricity from across the border, citing concerns over reliability of mainland grid

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 June, 2014, 11:38pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 18 June, 2014, 7:26am
 

Poll

  • Increase import from mainland: 20%
  • Build more gas-fired generators: 31%
  • Others (please comment): 50%
18 Jun 2014
  • Increase import from mainland
  • Build more gas-fired generators
  • Others (please comment)
Total number of votes recorded: 337

Elite business groups have come out against a government proposal to import 30 per cent of Hong Kong's electricity from the mainland, favouring the present high degree of self-sufficiency.

This has emerged ahead of the end of consultation today on the two proposals for Hong Kong's future energy mix.

The business sector, which consumes 23 billion kilowatt-hours, or half, of the city's electricity, cited concerns over the reliability of power sourced from the mainland grid.

"The import option should only be considered when we are comfortable with the mainland supply," a member of the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce said.

Tens of thousands of submissions are thought to have been filed to the Environment Bureau, which has come out strongly in favour of buying in more power.

The consultation reduces the issue to two options: to buy enough electricity from the Southern China Power Grid to meet 30 per cent of electricity demand - equal to 15 billion kilowatt-hours by 2023 - or to triple gas-fired local generation to 60 per cent.

The general chamber favours local generation, according to two members familiar with the body's draft position.

One member said the import option was clouded with many uncertainties, such as how to keep up the city's top-rated reliability of supply after connecting to the mainland grid.

He said CLP Power and HK Electric, both of which had members on the chamber's governing body, did not interfere in formulating its position. But another member admitted it was inevitable the firms' "feelings" would be taken into account.

Federation of Hong Kong Industries chairman Stanley Lau Chin-ho said the group would choose neither option. "We need more alternatives to widen our choices," he said.

Lau said federation members were concerned about rising costs under the local option and supply reliability under the import option. They believed a possible alternative was to increase nuclear energy imports via a dedicated transmission line.

HK Electric managing director Wan Chi-tin reiterated the company's preference for the local option as it filed its official submission. He denied the opposition to imports arose from fears about opening up the power market. "There is nothing we fear from market [opening]," he said. Instead, Wan questioned why the city had to now pick up an option that might have a far-reaching but unknown impact.

The Chinese Manufacturers' Association of Hong Kong said it was "inclined" to favour the local option. It disputed whether power imports would necessarily bring cheaper bills. Still, it believed the electricity market should be opened up to more competition in the long term.

The Business Environment Council also favoured the local option, but asked whether the threshold of 60 per cent gas-fired generation was too high. It said importing power required careful study before its adoption.

The only major business body that did not make a choice was the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce. A spokesman said it did not "specially discuss" the issue. The Australian Chamber of Business said it supported better interconnection with the mainland grid in the long term.

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21

This article is now closed to comments

johnyuan
CLP revealed that it used its diesel generator when its electrical supplier from China was cut off in three occasions. Facts should also be said that its customers were not affected – the sky didn’t fall.
.
Michael Kadoorie of CLP, man of great integrity and friend to environment in Hong Kong he should be interviewed by SCMP to be asked if he could turn back the clock to 1983 would he refrain from venturing with Guangdong to build a nuclear power plant there? Since CLP has more nuclear plants being planned in mainland, his reply should be a no.
.
Corporate social responsibility should be the guiding light for the rest of Hong Kong business groups in Hong Kong who shouldn’t give thumb down to electricity imports from mainland.
.
Public’s health should take priority; go and ask Kadoorie.
53919dad-e488-45a8-a2e5-0bca0a320969
my vote is nuclear, and min 50% supply from guangdong province.
johnyuan
Hong Kong's general public has been listening to the business groups far too long.This time just strip of their self-serving interest motive and demand for clean air.
johnyuan
If HK Electric, unlike China Light has the foresight to include nuclear plants to generate electricity, Hong Kong rightly should ask HK electric to curtail its electricity production simply for cleaner air in Hong Kong.
.
We must not think that undependable supply as an argument should trump indisputable facts that filthy air is costly and kills people. Yes only the business people are this blind – see and smell nothing except money making every tick of a second.
birdnbirdhk
ENB shot itself in the foot by presenting grid imports and local generation as alternatives. The opportunity cost of turning down either option for the next 30 years will be huge. Keep both options on the table and make HK's power companies compete with CSG for their slice of the business. When you are shopping for nearly 15bn kWh per year, you don't buy it all from the same shop!
sydmel
To buy electricty from the Southern Grid means a lot: 1. give up another HK's industry and hand over jobs to the mainland; 2. HK will live on the mercy of a big monoploy from across the border; 3. HK government will abrogate its supervision of power supply in HK (another deliberate act to prepare for 100% integration into the mainland in 2047?); 4. A big question mark on our future electricity bill.
onedistrict
Questions: Isn't CLP a monopoly for Kowloon & The New Territories? Isn't HK Electric a monopoly for Hong Kong & the outlying islands?
5353b57f-a9f4-46e1-903d-34f50a320969
what does the other half say?
onedistrict
Serious question as to how SCMP collected comments from the business groups. From the heads (Relevant committees) of a handful of business groups or from internal surveys conducted by the business groups?
sydmel
China has two Grid companies. The Southern Grid operates in five provinces in the South covering Guangdong and Guangxi. The National State Grid has the monopoly of the market in the rest of China. All electricity plants in the mainland have to sell their output to these two Grids which in turn supply electricity to consumers. Because of their market monopoly, these two Grids can dictate (to certain degree abuse) both their suppliers (power plants) and customers (the public). Rampant corruption in these two colossals should not be a surprise. To achieve what is the most desirable, HK Govt should acquire from the mainland the Daya Bay and Lingao nuclear plants, operate the plants with HK-based electricty company to serve HK with dedicated power line.

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