Reading Time: 3 minutes
Hong Kong SAR’s electricity provider Hong Kong Electric (HK Electric) plans to develop an offshore wind farm southwest of Lamma Island in support of Government’s goal of achieving net-zero electricity generation and carbon neutrality by 2050. Application for variation of an environmental permit for the proposed project has been approved by the Environmental Protection Department to allow for the use of more effective wind power generation technology.
This amended environmental permit was issued in accordance to the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance. The wind farm project will be included within HK Electric’s next Five Year Development Plan ( 2024 – 2028 ), and submitted for approval by the Government. Tendering will begin in 2024 and the commissioning is scheduled for 2027. This will ensure a smooth implementation.
The proposed wind farm covers an area of 600 hectares and is situated approximately four kilometres from Lamma Power Station. It will have a capacity around 150 MW. Based on the model of wind turbine chosen, there will be between 13 and 19 wind turbines each with eight to 12 MW. The wind turbines’ overall height at the top will be between 271 and 198 metres above sea level.
HK Electric has been collecting wind data at the site since many years. Independent consultants have concluded that the site has enough wind resources. The average wind speed at the site is about 7.1 metres per seconds, which is higher than the average recorded wind speed by the Hong Kong Observatory at Waglan Island Meteorological Monitoring Station. This makes it an ideal site for developing wind farms.
Wan Chitin, HK Electric’s Managing director, stated that HK Electric fully supports the government’s goal of zero-carbon electricity. He said that, in addition to increasing gas-fired electricity, we are exploring the possibility of developing renewable energy on a larger scale in Hong Kong. He also highlighted the construction of an offshore wind farm as a significant step towards achieving net-zero electricity generation.
Mr. Wan stated that the proposed windfar will produce approximately 400 million units per year of zero-carbon electricity. This is roughly 4% of HK Electric’s total electricity output. It can supply enough electricity for about 120,000 households annually (based on 275 units per month) and save around 284,000 tonnes CO2 emissions each year.
HK Electric will include the wind farm project within the next Five Year Development Plan (2024 – 2028 ). Government approval is required for ground investigation and tendering. Foundation and wind turbine installation will follow in mid-2025. Commercial operation will take place in 2027.
The significance of the wind farms project was highlighted by Mr. Wan, who said that it is an important step in the Company’s journey to net-zero electricity generation. It will not only help achieve carbon neutrality but it will also increase the amount of renewable energy in Hong Kong, and reduce the emission of air pollutants.
He said that while there are many opportunities to gain valuable experience in the operation of large-scale renewable energy infrastructures, and economic benefits in creating energy, construction, and tourism industries, it is also possible to get valuable experience.
In 2010, HK Electric received the environmental permit to build the wind farm. The original design of the generator unit was no longer feasible due to the significant improvements made in offshore wind power technology. A request for variation to the environmental permit was submitted recently and approved. This confirms that the changes will not result in material changes to the environment, such as water quality, fisheries, or operational noise impact.
HK Electric has established a Stakeholder Liaison Group that includes representatives from environmental groups, fisheries organizations, academic institutions, and individuals or organisations interested in energy issues and sustainable developments. Regular meetings will be held in order to facilitate consultation and gather feedback from various stakeholders about the design, construction, and operation of the offshore turbine farm project.