Hong Kong wind farm could improve air quality

A 100MW offshore wind farm could go some way towards combating Hong Kong's terrible air pollution, according to the company that wants to build it.

The city’s air quality is notoriously bad, with pollution costing Hong Kong around US$2.7bn per year in medical bills (see related News in Brief).

Now Hongkong Electric Holdings (HEH), a major power supplier in the city, has asked the Government for permission to build a 40-turbine wind farm in on of two locations, each about two miles off the shore of outlying islands.

The company claims the development would make significant improvements to air quality as it would provide enough electricity to annually negate the need to burn 62,000 tonnes of coal.

The potential sites have been identified after taking into account the wind regime, navigation channel, seabed utilities, marine conservation areas, water depths and proximity to Hongkong Electric’s power grid.

“The project is undertaken in support of the Government’s policy of having 1-2% of electricity generated by renewable energy by 2012, said HEH’s chief engineer, Dr Tso Che-wah.

“As land resources are scarce in Hong Kong, the development of offshore wind farm is the only viable option. Our plan is to build a total of 40 triple-bladed wind turbines, each of 2.5 MW, at the wind farm which can potentially generate about 175 million units of electricity every year.

“This is enough energy for about 50,000 families in Hong Kong, representing about 1.6% of Hongkong Electric’s electricity output in 2005.”

If given the green light by Government, the initial environmental impact assessment is likely to be completed by the end of 2007, with the wind farm up and running by 2012.

Sam Bond

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