Streetwise: Why we can't have another option? 為什麼不能有第三個方案?

Why we can't have another option? 為什麼不能有第三個方案?
Translated by Carmen Li, Edited by Chen-t'ang, Written by Streetwise Policy Unit
Original link: Press here 

(Photo by Steve Kocino via Flickr)
The Hong Kong Government has put forward two options in the consultation paper of Fuel Mix for Electricity Generation.
Option one is to purchase from the China Southern Power Grid (CSG), which will take up 30% of Hong Kong’s electricity consumption. Altogether with current 20% of electricity consumption from Daya Bay Nuclear Power Plant, half of the electricity will be imported from China altogether. 40% of generation will be using natural gas and 10% using coal.
Option two is to increase the ratio of natural gas for local generation from 20% to 60%, with the remaining 20% to be met by local coal-fired generation and renewable energy, while keeping 20% of nuclear import from Daya Bay Nuclear Power Plant.

In fact, we have to pay double for electricity charges in both options. These options are not really environmentally-friendly (the so-called wind power and hydraulic power generations are actually relied on CSG). They cannot help solving the monopoly of two power companies.

The government always urges to develop Environmental Protection as one of the "six pillar industries", and pushes Hong Kong to "lead the way on sustainable energy". However, the target of renewable energy in 2020 is barely 3 to 4% of the total electricity consumption. Now the renewable energy in Germany has already taken 17% of total electricity consumption in 2011. It is predicted that in 2020, the figure will rise up to 35%, which is 10 times of Hong Kong’s target.  The Environmental Protection experts, Wong Kam-sing and Christine Loh Kung-wai, who have $300,000 as monthly salary, can only think of two options without creativity? Is it impossible to have the third option?

Solar power technology is advanced by leaps and bounds. In the past, solar power generation was not economically efficient, but now, the price of silicon has dropped a lot, which enables the payback period to be shortened to 10 years. Also, "zero emission" can be attained during power generation. In fact, there is only 1600 hours sunlight on average in Germany every year, whereas 1840 hours on average in Hong Kong. Therefore, it is more viable for Hong Kong to use solar power generation when it is applicable in Germany. Streetwise Policy Unit now proposes Option three:

- Separation of Plants and Grids. We require two power companies to separate power generation, power transmission and marketing as independent entities. Build up and make a new plan for the independent power grid company. Strengthen the current
   1) CLP (中電) and Power Assets Holding Limited (港燈)  and
   2) the connection between CLP and China Power Grid.
- Smart Grid must provide Net Metering.
- Enable mandatory legislation of space reservation for installation of solar panels in all buildings with rooftops receiving sunlight.
- The energy produced by solar panels can be provided for the public utilities of the buildings first. After the separation of the power grid, it can even be sold to power gird by cost price.
It is forseeable that this option will face lots of objection from many apartment owners. Usually, most of the apartment owners are not concerned much about environmental protection. They are not willing to pay a higher electricity charge, which could likely be saved in the future. In fact many solar panel companies in Europe and US do not require apartment owners to pay in advance. The way to pay is to install the solar panel first. The fees of installation and facilities would be deducted from the saved electricity charge in the next 10 years. It is a bit similar to the mortgage or payment by installments. The development of this market can be benefitted if the government can provide guarantees and subsidies.

Such ordinance can be implemented in different phases. The first phase is to require all new buildings to install solar panels. Then apply this to commercial buildings and factories in second phase. Residential buildings will be the final phase. The cheaper the price of silicon, the higher the effectiveness of absorbing solar power, and the fewer opposition should appear. If such option can be fully implemented, it is believed that solar power can be taken 30% of the total energy resource in Hong Kong. It should be able to meet the needs of future development in Hong Kong.


- 廠網分家,要求兩電分拆發電、輸配及銷售業務為獨立公司。成立獨立電網公司,重新規劃,並將其進化為聰明電網,加強現時
- 聰明電網必須提供淨用電量(Net Metering)。
- 立法硬性規定所有大廈有日照的天台至少要有一部份面積安裝太陽能電池板。
- 所產生的能量可先行為大廈的公共設施供電。電網分拆後甚至可以以成本價賣給電網。


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