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Hong Kong targets first offshore wind plant in 2027

Out-Law News | 13 May 2022 | 9:15 am | 1 min. read

The first offshore wind farm in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China is expected to be operational in 2027, it has been announced.

Hong Kong SAR’s electricity provider Hong Kong Electric (HK Electric) plans to build a 150 megawatts (MW) offshore wind plant in the southwest of Lamma Island. The Environmental Protection Department has granted the necessary variation of an environmental permit for the project.   

Renewables expert John Yeap of Pinsent Masons said: “Hong Kong SAR has limited ability to utilise renewable energy resources given the high density urban environment. Offshore wind is one such possibility, and offshore wind power projects have been mooted for over a decade by both of the city’s power suppliers. Marginal project economics as well as an inability to bring such projects within the Scheme of Control framework have stymied such projects. 

“However, with wind turbines evolving both in terms of economies of scale as well as operational advancements, and with a firm commitment from the city to achieve net zero by 2050, perhaps the planets are finally aligned for Hong Kong SAR to join the offshore wind sector. With fabrication of such power projects significantly improving and expanding in mainland China, Hong Kong SAR is well placed to capitalise on the supply chain benefits that come from its geographical proximity,” he said.

According to a statement by HK Electric, once the project gets approved by the Hong Kong SAR administration, the tender process will begin in 2024 with operation due to start by 2027. HK Electric plans to deploy between 13 and 19 wind turbines, of between eight and 12 MW capacity.

The project aims to support the Hong Kong SAR administration’s goal to reach net zero carbon neutrality by 2050, HK Electric said. The proposed plant will generate 400 million units of zero-carbon electricity each year, which is enough for the annual electricity use of 120,000 local homes. In this way, the city will save 284,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year.

HK Electric received the environmental permit for the project in 2010. The firm recently submitted a variation application because it has advanced the technology in a way which will lessen the impact on the environment.