1.1.1 The Project
126.96.36.199 “The Project” refers to the development of the proposed Hong Kong Offshore Wind Farm (HKOWF) in Southeastern Waters of the HKSAR.
188.8.131.52 The Project will be capable of producing a maximum output of approximately 200MW of electricity. The annual production would be approximately 1% of HK’s total electricity needs.
The turbines will be arranged
in a grid, and each will be affixed to the seabed by a foundation consisting of
a jacket structure with suction caissons.
The turbines will be linked by collection cables to an offshore
transformer platform from which electricity shall be transmitted to shore via
two 132kV cables. A research mast will
also be installed to collect data on the offshore environment. At its closest point, the Project would be
184.108.40.206 The Project will be constructed over approximately 2 years, and will be serviced using local port facilities over its anticipated life-span 20-25 years. Every year of operation it is estimated that the Project would offset approximately[*]:
· 343,000 - 383,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
· 54 - 60 tonnes of Sulphur Dioxide.
· 394 - 440 tonnes of Nitrogen Oxides.
· 14 - 16 tonnes of particulate material.
220.127.116.11 Inspection and maintenance works will be conducted on an ongoing basis, and the wind farm will be decommissioned at the end of its working life. The energy required to build a wind farm is typically recovered in the first year of operation, thus bringing a net positive effect on greenhouse gas emissions. [†]
18.104.22.168 Tendering for Project construction is yet to take place, whilst the rapid pace of developments in offshore wind technology mean that Project details may be subject to minor modification. However, this EIA presents a reasonable worst case scenario for the assessment of potential environmental outcomes and impacts.
22.214.171.124 Project details are presented in Section 2 of the EIA Study Report.
1.1.2 The Project Team
126.96.36.199 The Project Proponent for this Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Study is Hong Kong Offshore Wind Limited (HKOWL) – a 100% subsidiary of Wind Prospect (HK) Limited, itself a subsidiary of the Wind Prospect Group; all of which shall be referred to as ‘Wind Prospect’ herein.
Wind Prospect (www.windprospect.com) is a leading
international vertically integrated wind farm development, construction and
operation company that has worked on over 45 wind farms around the world. Examples of Wind Prospect projects being
constructed in 2007 include the 90MW offshore Burbo Bank Wind Farm in the
188.8.131.52 Wind Prospect has a proven capability in developing, constructing and operating projects in a responsible and sensitive manner. This is reflected in the commitment to achieve and maintain an Environmental Management System (EMS) that is ISO 14001 accredited and a high success rate in projects developed. The proposed development has benefited from the experience and systems that are in place throughout the company.
184.108.40.206 Wind Prospect always works in partnership with leading local partners and for the proposed HKOWF will work with CLP Power Hong Kong Limited (CLP) – the HKSAR’s largest energy utility and a leading investor in wind power and other clean energy technologies.
The lead consultant for this
Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Study is BMT
Asia Pacific Ltd (BMT)
220.127.116.11 The Project Team was supported by specialists from Hyder Consulting Limited, Cosine Limited, IGGE (HK) Limited, Asiatic Marine Limited, Urbis Limited, City University, Lam Geotechnics Limited, ALS Limited, Hong Kong Coastal Activities Centre Limited, E-connect Limited, Strategic Access Limited and Pinsent Masons; and also Messers Yu Yat Tung and Wan Po.
1.2.1 HKSAR & PRC Government Policy
The Chief Executive of the HKSAR, Donald Tsang, May 2005
18.104.22.168 Sustainable development and protecting the environment for future generations is now a cornerstone of Government policies around the world. Since energy is the lifeblood of modern economies, the policy is to encourage renewable energy (RE) generation from clean sources in order to:
· Reduce atmospheric emissions which are both harmful and which contribute to climate change; and
· Meet future demands for energy with diverse and secure supplies.
“Our target is that 1% to 2% of our total electricity supply will come from renewable sources by 2012.”
The Chief Executive of the HKSAR, Donald Tsang, May 2007.[‡]
The concept of developing an
offshore wind farm in the HKSAR arose following the release of the First
Sustainable Development Strategy for
22.214.171.124 After analysing what ‘sustainable development’ means for the HKSAR, including investigating the potential for RE deployment, a strategic objective was set to supply between 1% and 2% of the HKSAR’s total electricity from renewable sources by the year 2012.
The potential for large-scale
land-based RE development in the HKSAR is limited due to lack of land
availability – most land being already developed, under conservation
protection, and / or simply ill-suited for large-scale deployment of RE. This is well demonstrated in the EIA’s
recently completed by CAPCO for its Commercial Scale Wind Turbine Pilot Demonstration at Hei Ling Chau and
Hong Kong Electric for their wind turbine on
126.96.36.199 By aiming to generate approximately 1% of HK’s electricity requirements using RE, the proposed Project supports HKSARG Policy.
“It is a global wish and common responsibility to take right action to cope with challenges posed by environment and energy as well as to achieve sustainable development”
Jintao, President of the People's Republic of
National level, in early 2005
188.8.131.52 By the end of 2007 Chinese installed wind capacity had reached approximately 6,000 MW. In April 2008 the National Development and Reform Commission recently doubled China’s installed wind capacity target to 10,000 MW by 2010. However, indications that annual additional capacity could soon reach around 8,000 MW means the 2010 target and the 2020 target of 30,000 MW could be significantly exceeded.[§]
Offshore wind energy has been
identified as a strategic long term industry with significant projects
184.108.40.206 The remainder of Sub-section 1.2 examines the key issues associated with and the benefits of renewable energy in a local and international context, and the commitments made both nationally and internationally to limit damage to the environment, which together underpin the need for the proposed Project.
1.2.2 Climate Change
220.127.116.11 The 1990s were the warmest decade globally over the past millennia and the first decade of the 21st Century is expected to be even hotter. Global carbon dioxide concentrations have risen by 30% since the 18th Century and are now increasing by 1% per year.[**]
18.104.22.168 Evidence indicates that the recent rises in global temperature are undisputable a result of the increase in atmospheric gases, like CO2, from human activities, principally the burning of fossil fuels for electricity and transport. The use of RE with cleaner sources of traditional energy can help combat climate change.
22.214.171.124 In October 2006 the findings of the Stern Review: The Economics of Climate Change - a major review commissioned by the British Government in 2005 – were released. The Review demonstrates the urgency for substantial action on climate change, noting that:
· “Climate change could have very serious impacts on growth and development”;
· “What we do in the next 10 or 20 years can have a profound effect on the climate in the second half of this century and in the next”;
· “The evidence gathered by the Review leads to a simple conclusion: the benefits of strong, early action considerably outweigh the costs”;
· “…options currently available for de-carbonising energy use in electricity generation, transport and industry, all of which are amenable to significant further development…. include: onshore and offshore wind…”.
In the regional context of the
HKSAR and the Pearl River Delta, a recent research paper by Civic Exchange
titled ‘The Impacts of Climate Change in
· Temperature may rise by approximately 3.5oC this Century.
Sea levels could rise by
· Precipitation will increase in variability, leading to years of drought followed by years of increased flooding.
126.96.36.199 Such changes would have serious negative impacts, including:
· Effects on Human Health. Increase mosquito-borne diseases, respiratory illness and increasing mortality rates.
· Effects on Nature. Regional ecosystems, already damaged by industrialisation, will suffer imbalance.
· Impacts on Transport Networks. Roads, ports and train lines will suffer from increased damage and flooding.
· Impacts on Utilities. Increased variability of rainfall will put further pressure on already strained water supplies across the PRD, while higher temperatures will lead to more air conditioning and a greater energy requirement at a time when energy resources are becoming scarcer.
1.2.3 Energy Security
“The threat to the world's energy security, especially on oil and natural gas, will reach serious dimensions in the next 10 years”
International Energy Agency (IEA) Chief Economist Dr. Fatih Birol, Dec 06
188.8.131.52 Energy Security is now a major policy issue across the World. Led by concerns over the coming peaking of world oil supply, referred to as “Peak Oil”, nations are busy securing long term energy supplies and developing indigenous energy supplies. Peak Oil is the calculation that our finite oil supply is now nearing a peak in production, with declining production predicted within years/decades.
184.108.40.206 As a recently commissioned US Department of Energy report outlines, Peak Oil is a reality and the timing of the peak itself is not as important as the impacts that will result and the time it will take for cleaner and RE alternatives to be developed. [††]
220.127.116.11 Given its limited natural resources, offshore wind can play an important role in increasing energy diversity and would become the HKSAR’s principle source of indigenous energy.
1.2.4 Air Pollution
“I acknowledge that the title of my remarks – ‘The Air That We Breathe’ – is not particularly original…but it is decidedly more optimistic than many of the other alternatives I could think of. ‘The Air We Can Taste’ for example”
Mr. David Eldon, Ex-Chairman HK General Chamber of Commerce. Project Clean Air Conference, November 2006.
Air pollution is worsening in
the HKSAR. "Boomtown to
Gloomtown" is how CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets titled a September 2006 report
18.104.22.168 Wind power in an electricity network would directly displace an equivalent of fossil fuels that are currently used (primarily coal), and would therefore support improved air quality. While the Project would not solve the air pollution problem overnight, it would however be a contributor to broader initiatives to return blue skies to the HKSAR.
"The time for action is now. WWF calls upon the corporate community to support and invest in alternate forms of energy to make a difference in the area of climate change."
Mr. Eric Bohm, CEO WWF Hong Kong March 2007.
22.214.171.124 Driven largely by concern over climate change, energy security and air pollution, wind power is the fastest growing form of electricity generation globally, with an annual growth rate in excess of 30%.
126.96.36.199 By the end of 2007 global wind power installations had reached 94,000 MW. In total, this provides enough power to satisfy the needs of around 28 million households.[‡‡] Figure 1.2 displays this trend.
188.8.131.52 An important feature of the wind market is the relentless improvement in technology, increasing economies of scale and the resultant improvement in cost effectiveness of projects. Each year wind turbines grow more powerful and produce more electricity for less investment.
While the offshore wind market
is over a decade old, only in the last few years have projects made the
transition from demonstration / education to being fully commercial. Wind turbine technology and installation
methodologies have now been developed specifically for the offshore market and
there is growing activity worldwide and a clear trend towards more projects and
larger projects with greater geographical diversity, with increasing interest
in Asia and
184.108.40.206 Consultation has been conducted with individuals, groups and Government from the Project conception stage. This broad range of stakeholders has been engaged to increase awareness and encourage stakeholder participation and to provide valuable feedback on the many environmental and socio-economic issues. For example, prior to the submission of the Project Profile a group of over 80 people representing interested companies, green groups and Government attended a workshop introducing the project. Appendix 1A lists some of the stakeholder meetings that have been carried out as part of this EIA study.
220.127.116.11 The Project Proponent together with CLP has conducted extensive consultations with project stakeholders, including: individuals, organisations, Government Departments and many others. The feedback from these consultations has been important during the preparation of this EIA Study Report. Section 12.3 considers some of the key issues raised by Consultees and how they were addressed in the EIA.
18.104.22.168 The purpose of this EIA Study is to provide information on the nature and extent of environmental impacts arising from the construction and operation of the Project and related activities taking place concurrently. This information will contribute to decisions by the Director of EPD on:
· The overall acceptability of any adverse environmental consequences that may arise as a result of the Project and the associated activities of the Project;
· Any conditions and requirements for the detailed design, construction and operation of the Project required to mitigate against adverse environmental consequences wherever practicable; and
· The acceptability of residual impacts after implementation of the proposed mitigation measures.
Satisfying the aims of the EIA Study has been managed by achieving a number of more specific objectives as listed in the EIA Study Brief (ESB-146/2006). The objectives of the EIA study are to:
· Describe the Project and associated works together with the requirements and environmental benefits for carrying out the Project;
· Identify and describe elements of community and environment likely to be affected by the Project and/or likely to cause adverse impacts to the Project, including natural and man-made environment and the associated environmental constraints;
· Consider alternative options with a view to avoiding and minimising the potential environmental impacts to ecological sensitive areas in the Mirs Bay, Port Shelter, Junk Bay, Eastern Buffer and Southern Buffer Water Control Zones and other sensitive uses; to compare the environmental benefits and dis-benefits of each of the different options; to provide reasons for selecting the preferred option(s) and to describe the part of environmental factors played in the selection;
· Identify and quantify any potential loss or damage and other potential impacts to ecology and fisheries resources, flora, fauna and natural habitats and to propose measures to mitigate these impacts;
· Identify and quantify emission sources and determine the significance of impacts on sensitive receivers and potential affected uses;
· Identify and quantify any potential landscape and visual impacts and to propose measures to mitigate these impacts;
· Identify the negative impacts on any historical and archaeological resources and to propose measures to mitigate these impact;
· Propose the provision of mitigation measures so as to minimise pollution, environmental disturbance and nuisance during construction and operation of the Project;
· Investigate the feasibility, practicability, effectiveness and implications of the proposed mitigation measures;
· Identify, predict and evaluate the residual environmental impacts (i.e. after practicable mitigation) and the cumulative effects expected to arise during the construction and operation of the Project in relation to the sensitive receivers and potential affected uses;
· Identify, assess and specify methods, measures and standards, to be included in the detailed design, construction and operation of the Project which are necessary to mitigate these environmental impacts and cumulative effects and reduce them to acceptable levels;
· Investigate the extent of the secondary environmental impacts that may arise from the proposed mitigation measures and to identify constraints associated with the mitigation measures recommended in the EIA study, as well as the provision of any necessary modification; and
· Design and specify environmental monitoring and audit requirements to ensure the effective implementation of the recommended environmental protection and pollution control measures.
· Section 2: Project Description
· Section 3: Waste & Materials
· Section 4: Water Quality
· Section 5: Benthic Ecology
· Section 6: Pelagic Ecology
· Section 7: Avifauna
· Section 8: Fisheries
· Section 9: Cultural Heritage
· Section 10: Landscape & Visual
· Section 11: Environmental Mitigation Implementation Schedule
· Section 12: Summary & Conclusion
22.214.171.124 Appendix 1B presents the Study Brief and cross references the sections of the report where each issue is addressed.
[*] Based on offsetting predicted emissions from Castle Peak Power station after FGD unit is fitted
[†] Life Cycle Assessment of Onshore and Offshore Sited Wind Power Plants based on Vestas V90-3MW turbines, June 06, Vestas.
by Dr. David Viner, Climate Research Unit,
126.96.36.199 [††] Hirsch, R.L. et al. (2005). Peaking of World Oil Production: Impacts, Mitigation & Risk Management. US National Energy Technology Laboratory.
[‡‡] Based on 1MW producing enough for around 300 households.