Hong Kong’s first commercial-scale wind power station has proved “intermittent, unpredictable and uncontrollable,” according to owner/operator Hongkong Electric (HEC).
The 800kW Lamma Winds project had offered “low capacity and high cost,” since it started operations in February, HEC told Blue Skies China. The utility added that further development of renewable energy in Hong Kong would “likely face many barriers” including geographical constraints and higher costs compared with conventional energy sources. “Public understanding and acceptance is much needed if renewable energy were to be applied more widely in the city,” said the utility.
HEC said Lamma Winds project was implemented to gain operating experience on possible wider use of renewable energy in Hong Kong, but the experience had shown the difficulties of harnessing wind energy in the city. The question provoking the response was based around a recent survey, in which Hong Kong’s “opinion leaders” indicated they would prefer more renewable energy but did not want to pay for it.
HEC has a good environmental track record. It has world-class flue gas desulphurization units installed at its three most-used power generating units, and it should be noted these were installed well before it was legally required to do so.
Its gas supplies from Shenzhen’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal are now secured, and it will replace 15% of its coal-fired generation by the end of 2007. But as the utility points out, if the public wants more renewable power, it must accept its higher cost and unreliability.