Time for Hong Kong to develop offshore wind energy farms

November 07, 2019 14:09
Being a coastal city, Hong Kong has the potential for building large-scale offshore wind farms. Photo: Bloomberg

According to a report recently published by an environmental group, our city’s score in environmental protection efforts is below average.

In particular, Hong Kong is lagging far behind its counterparts when it comes to the development and promotion of renewable energy.

Undeniably, the city's land limitations have made it rather difficult for the government to build large-scale and land-based renewable energy facilities.

Nevertheless, since Hong Kong is a coastal city, we have the potential for building large-scale offshore wind farms.

Offshore wind energy is now all the rage across Europe. In Denmark, wind power accounts for 41 percent of the country’s total electricity generation, with offshore wind farms providing 12 percent of its wind energy.

Currently, offshore wind energy only constitutes 0.3 percent of the total global electricity supply, but the International Energy Agency (IEA) has suggested that the gap between wind power and traditional fossil energy in terms of generation capacity, stability and production cost will gradually narrow, thanks to technological breakthroughs and falling costs.

The IEA projected that the average cost of offshore wind energy is going to drop by a further 40 percent over the next decade, and it is likely to become the mainstream energy source across the world in the not-too-distant future.

Back in 2010, the SAR government did assess the feasibility of developing offshore wind power, only to shelve the plan later out of concerns about low cost-effectiveness.

However, as the power generation capacity for wind turbines of new models has been greatly escalating in recent years and the cost of building offshore wind farms has continued to fall, perhaps it is now time for the government to reassess the cost-effectiveness of the plan.

The Environment Bureau stressed that Hong Kong must reduce carbon emissions in its electricity generation process through regional cooperation.

As such, perhaps the government and local electric utilities can also study the feasibility of investing in large-scale offshore wind farms in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and then buying wind energy from them through a designated power grid.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Oct 31

Translation by Alan Lee

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Member of Legislative Council (Functional Constituency – Accountancy)

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