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Chp 20, Lamma Island Power Plant – Forty years champion for the environment

Lamma Island Power Plant

Electricity on Hong Kong Island used to be provided by a power plant in Ap Lei Chau, operated by Hong Kong Electric Company. Citing inadequate capacity in Ap Lei Chau, Hong Kong Electric proposed to build an additional power plant in Lamma Island at Po Lo Tsui, with a capacity of 1700 megawatts. With reclamation and jetties, the site would occupy 58.9 ha with the power plant costing $2-3 billion and 5 years to build. The project was gazetted in May 1978.

CA objected to the plan and conducted a study in July 1978 to assess the project’s environmental impacts during construction and operation, such as noise, waste and as air pollution. Irreversible environmental changes caused by the smoke stakes and long term effects on fisheries and beach pollution was also highlighted. CA’s report also included an examination of alternatives, including the no-project alternative – the first time that the idea of merging the two power companies were raised.

Despite CA’s previous success in preventing an oil refinery on Lamma Island, this time the “lure of power” proved too strong for the Hong Kong government which approved the construction plan in September 1978, after consultation with EPCOM whose views, it was reported, was divided right down in the middle. Despite the setback, CA continued to call on stringent environmental controls to be put in place to reduce impacts to a minimum.

CA was to be proven right in later years for challenging the Lamma Island power plant, when the two power companies were shown to have excessive generating capacity. As for Ap Lei Chau, the power station has long been replaced by the residential estate known as South Horizon.


April 26, 2015 - Posted by | Dr WK Chan book

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