Energy Experts Explored Energy Development in Hong Kong

Themed as “The Future Energy of Hong Kong: Reliable, Affordable and Low Carbon”, the EnviroSeries Conference hosted by Business Environment Council (BEC) on 22 November 2013 had over 150 business leaders, academics, government representatives and sustainability professionals participated in the discussion on the energy development, and the policies and measures that could help lead Hong Kong to a low carbon economy.

Over 20 local and overseas experts shared their views and insights on leading Hong Kong towards a sustainable energy pathway. In his welcoming remarks, Ir Cary Chan, BEC Board Director and BEC Energy Advisory Group Chairman / General Manager, Technical Services and Sustainability of Swire Properties Limited emphasised that energy and carbon reduction is a pressing issue for Hong Kong. Different players both on the demand and supply side has to work together to set up targets, establish energy policies such as fuel mix, and the generation, procurement and distribution of energy.

Ms Vivian Lau, Deputy Secretary for the Environment of the HKSAR Government, sets the scene for the day’s discussion with her Keynote speech. She highlighted the four energy policy objectives of Hong Kong, namely, safety, reliability, affordability and environmental performance, and mentioned the importance of striking a delicate balance among them.  She also emphasised the need to engage the public on this important subject which affects all walks of life.

One of the key stakeholders on energy issue will be power suppliers. Mr Jim Taylor, Head of Strategic Planning & Regulatory Affairs of CLP Power Hong Kong Limited noted the challenge of maintaining the reliable electricity supply essential for Hong Kong whilst making any changes to the fuel mix in a way and to a practical timescale that community endorses, at a cost they are prepared to pay. 

The characteristics, and pros and cons of various fuel sources were discussed at the Conference. Nuclear, a relatively clean source of energy with minimal emissions during generation is subject to much debate since the Fukushima incident in Japan in 2011. Ms Yukari Yamashita, Board Member and Director, The Institute of Energy Economics from Japan noted that the reduction in the use of nuclear power will make energy security and reduction of carbon emissions even more challenging, but everyone in society should work together at this moment to lower the nation’s overall energy consumption. This point of view echoed the presentation by Mr Gailius Draugelis, Lead Energy Specialist, China & Mongolia Sustainable Development Unit, Beijing, East Asia and Pacific Region, The World Bank, who pointed out that energy efficiency can be considered a resource that lowers energy demand and is something that cities can implement on their own.

Experts from various sectors also shared different solutions and technologies in enhancing energy efficiency on demand side management during the Conference. Low carbon transportation was also one of the main elements of the event, where alternate fuels for road transport and sustainability of maritime industry were shared and discussed.

Experts in the concluding panel discussion expressed the insights from financial, technical and academic points of view. It is clear that energy policy should be reviewed in a regional perspective, not only on supply and demand, but also on the overall environmental benefits. Hong Kong requires a comprehensive and transparent consultation process to lay down its fuel mix policy, energy efficiency from different sectors, especially in commercial buildings and in transportation, which will be crucial to the sustainable energy future for Hong Kong.

BEC stages the EnviroSeries Conference twice a year to bring together a diverse combination of stakeholders to address and discuss key issues in sustaining the environment of Hong Kong. We thank our members and supporting partners for another successful EnviroSeries, the sponsors of this Conference include: CLP Power Hong Kong Limited, AECOM Asia Company Limited, Henderson Land Group, Nissan Global Company Limited, Schneider Electric (Hong Kong) Limited, Siemens Limited, Sun Hung Kai Properties Limited, Swire Properties Limited, The Hong Kong and China Gas Company Limited.

Photo Captions

(1) Ir Cary Chan, BEC Board Director and BEC Energy Advisory Group Chairman / General Manager, Technical Services and Sustainability of Swire Properties Limited delivered the welcoming remarks at BEC EnviroSeries Conference.

(2) Ms Vivian Lau, Deputy Secretary for the Environment, delivered her Keynote speech at BEC EnviroSeries Conference.

(3) With the support and sponsorships from its members and other parties of the business community, BEC hosts the EnviroSeries Conference twice a year.

(4) Insightful experts shared their experiences and views to over 150 participants at BEC EnviroSeries Conference.

(5) Panel discussions by experts inspire the audience with professional views and successful cases.