Government to further reduce emissions from power plants
The Government published today (October 21) in the Gazette the Sixth Technical Memorandum for Allocation of Emission Allowances in Respect of Specified Licences, which aims to further reduce the emissions of air pollutants from power plants from 2021 onwards. This will help to further improve air quality in both Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta region.
The new technical memorandum (TM), which is issued under the Air Pollution Control Ordinance, will cap the annual emissions of sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and respirable suspended particulates (RSP) from the power generation sector from 2021 at 7 080 tonnes, 20 530 tonnes and 550 tonnes respectively. As compared with the emission allowances for 2020 set under the Fifth TM, the proposed Sixth TM will further tighten the emissions of SO2, NOx and RSP by 8 per cent, 3 per cent and 6 per cent respectively for the electricity sector.
A spokesperson for the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) said, "The latest electricity demand forecasts for 2021 for the Hongkong Electric Company, Limited (HEC) and CLP Power Hong Kong Limited (CLP) are expected to be lowered by 2.4 per cent and 1.4 per cent respectively as compared to those of 2020 when setting the Fifth TM. The projected load reduction is attributable to the Energy Saving Plan for Hong Kong's Built Environment 2015~2025+ released by the Government in May 2015, which sets a target of reducing energy intensity in Hong Kong by 40 per cent by 2025 when compared to 2005. In setting the new emission caps, we have taken into account the scope for further emission reduction from coal-fired generating units of the two power companies and that CLP will endeavour to continue importing 80 per cent of nuclear output from the Daya Bay Nuclear Power Station beyond 2018.
"As emissions from the power generation sector accounted for 53 per cent, 33 per cent and 17 per cent of the territory-wide emissions of SO2, NOx and RSP respectively in 2014, the tightened emission allowances will help improve the air quality in Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta region.
"For newcomers to the local electricity market, we will allocate emission allowances based on the emission performance of a new gas-fired generation unit adopting the latest technology for emission reduction. The Sixth TM will continue to retain the mechanism in the Fifth TM to cater for the intake of renewable energy."
To meet the Government's plan announced in March 2015 to increase local gas generation to around 50 per cent of the total fuel mix for electricity generation by 2020, CLP is preparing to build a new gas-fired generating unit at its Black Point Power Station. HEC is also planning to build a new gas-fired generating unit for commissioning in 2022. The EPD will review the TM again in 2017 when more information on the timing of their availability is available.
The new TM will be tabled at the Legislative Council on October 26, for commencement before the end of 2016. The new set of emission allowances will come into effect on January 1, 2021, i.e., at least four years after the commencement of the TM, in accordance with section 26G(4) of the Air Pollution Control Ordinance.
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