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Chp 37, Proposed power station at Fan Lau – Forty years champion for the environment

Proposed power station at Fan Lau

The Hong Kong government received a request from China Light and Power (CLP) in 1989 for approval of a new coal-fire power station to be built in Fan Lau, the south western end of Lantau Island. The new power station could be commissioned by 1996 if works were to begin by the end of 1989.

The proposal was opposed by CA, which issued a statement in May 1989 questioning the rationale for a new power plant and rejecting the site proposed. CA observed that CLP had been expanding its generating capacity since the Scheme of Control Agreement between it and the government in 1978 (then to expire in 1993). Under the SOC, China Light was entitled a rate of return on its fixed assets, hence giving it an incentive to over-invest: with new stations already constructed in Castle Peak and another new nuclear power plant at Daya Bay, the need for additional power stations was questioned. Instead of an expansion of generating capacity, CA called for full transparency of information from CLP, and the establishment of an effective energy advisory committee to formulate energy policy, develop renewable energy, and promote demand side management. The government was asked to re-evaluate the SOC and put it under the framework of a comprehensive energy policy supervised by an adequate regulatory system within government.

For CA, the demand for additional power plants should be determined with adequate public participation, including through public hearings. Whether or not the need would be established, CA strongly opposed the proposed site in Fan Lau, part of the Lantau Country Park. With the help of other green groups including Green Lantau Association, Friends of the Earth, Green Power and Lamma Island Conservation Association, CA conducted a site study of Fan Lau and compiled a report advocating conservation of the area.

In the fact of opposition from green groups, CLP proposed to build the new power plant at Lan Kok Tsui in Tuen Mun. In a statement issued on 24 August 1990, CA acknowledged that the environmental impact in Tuen Mun would be much less than Fan Lau, but nevertheless maintained its opposition before CLP could prove the need for the additional demand. Years later, CA’s concern was justified as CLP was demonstrably producing excess energy.

In February 1991, Hung Wing Tat penned an energy policy strategy paper in CA’s newsletter, making a call for energy conservation, energy efficiency and renewable energy, both at supply (power plant) and demand (homes and user) sides. The establishment of an appropriate regulatory authority and the need to conduct energy audits were also advocated. Five years later, in July 1996, the government established the Energy Advisory Committee.

May 13, 2015 Posted by | Dr WK Chan book | Leave a comment