Government-led Promotion of a Territory-wide Energy Conservation Campaign

Speech of the Hon KP Chan Moving Motion on Territory–wide Energy Saving Campaigns at the Legislative Council Meeting on 15 February 2012

• As climate changes, weather is becoming extreme. Severe calamities like drought, flood, snowstorm, hurricane, etc are occurring repeatedly all over the world. Millions of people are suffering. Many are even forced to flee and become refugees of the climate. Hong Kong could not be immune.

• In meeting increasing demand, many countries are expanding nuclear power for its high efficiency and low emission. Prior to the Fukushima incident, the SAR Government was also intended to substantially increase nuclear power to help reduce carbon emission. One of the key proposals in Strategies and Action Plan for Climate Changes is to raise the share of nuclear fuel in power generation from the current level of 23 percent to 50 percent by 2020.

• Following the Fukushima incident, the world is reviewing safety of nuclear power. In fact, nuclear power is high in risks and nuclear waste disposal has far-reaching implications. It is doubtful that Hong Kong could afford them. As Hong Kong does not have natural resources, we have limited choices of renewable energy. Natural gas costs much more than coal. The latest round of increase in tariffs has shown that the reliance of natural gas would push up electricity bills.

• Energy saving is the quickest, most effective and most cost efficient of all energy policy initiatives. It would not only meet the challenge of climate changes but also reduce household expenditures. The Government should take the lead and lay down energy saving targets and policies. It should also encourage communal participation in energy saving campaigns through administrative means and help Hong Kong move on to become a low-carbon city.

• The consultants of Environment Bureau forecast in 2009 that electricity consumption would surge to 64 billion Kilowatt hour (kWh) by 2020. However, the actual consumption in 2010 was only 44.4 billion kWh, as against the forecast of 50.4 billion kWh. Applying the same margin of error to the forecast for 2020, there would be an over-estimate of 8.64 billion kWh. Therefore, Hong Kong does not need to step up nuclear power if we would all save energy. With an annual saving of 3 percent, for instance, total saving for 8 years would amount to 25 percent.

• In Taiwan, households are offered discounts from 5 percent to 20 percent for less power consumption compared to the same billing period in the preceding year. The scheme achieved a reduction of 45 billion kWh for the first year, equivalent to 60 percent of domestic power consumption of Taipei. In Singapore, target of the national energy saving campaign is set at 10 percent. Households achieving 10 percent saving in power consumption are eligible for lucky draw.

• In Hong Kong, however, many constructive ideas have been proposed but the Government has yet to respond with territorial targets in energy saving and emission reduction. As such, we have a bundle of thoughts but no timetable and road map for reducing carbon emission through energy saving.

• In the year before last, I joined the Owners’ Committee (OC) of my housing estate. The OC and the management company agreed on a target of 5 percent saving in power consumption for last year. We attained the target and saved HK$1.4 million in electricity bill. All residents are pleased. Our target for this year is 3 percent reduction. According to the management company control of air conditioning usage is the most effective means, followed by reduction in power consumption in lighting.

• Low carbon life style and economic growth as well as quality of life are never mutually-exclusive. The Government is looking to the increase in nuclear and other sources of power without realizing that we have already the most convenient, most cost efficient and fastest means in hand. It is energy saving.

• I ask the Government to take the lead and set a viable target for energy saving after discussions with the community. Apart from electricity, town gas and petrol fuels should also be covered. Incentives should be offered to guide Hong Kong to achieve such energy saving targets and to march forward on the road to a low carbon metropolitan.

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