WWF & Civic Exchange- Hong Kong needs an up-to-date Integrated Energy Policy

Posted 23 March 2006
WWF & Civic Exchange

WWF and Civic Exchange remain disappointed with the Stage II Consultation Paper from the Economic Development and Labour Bureau (EDLB) because its goals are still too narrowly framed, and fail to take into account the changing dynamics of future energy markets and energy technologies - or the opportunities that these changing dynamics can provide for the people of Hong Kong.

“The narrow focus of the Schemes of Control (SoC) discussion fails to adequately reflect the risks and opportunities of the modern energy world. We recommend that the Government reframe the SoC debate as part of the development of a multi-purpose Integrated Energy Policy,” said Dr Bill Barron, Senior Fellow of Civic Exchange.

Energy efficiency offers massive potential savings to Hong Kong consumers and potential new areas of profitable business to power companies and other sectors, but the Government has so far failed to take the opportunity to align the interests of the utilities and consumers,” said Dr Alan Leung, Senior Conservation Officer, WWF Hong Kong .

Energy savings achieved can be appropriately shared, thereby driving the utilities and consumers to work towards the highest gains from energy conservation and efficiency. We propose a series of measures that would ensure energy efficiency is addressed at the same level as energy supply.

“Allowing fair access to the grid to small power producers would offer multiple benefits to Hong Kong’s consumers and its energy system. The EDLB’s Stage II position is vague in this area. We believe there are important aspects of the grid that should form the subject of public discussion, which will speed the entry of new, clean decentralised generation technologies. We suggest that the EDLB encourage a discussion about the various ways it may be possible to provide an open grid including the outright purchase of HKSAR Government , or even simply a fair tariff system for independent power producers to access the grid, ” said Liam Salter, Director of Asia-Pacific Climate and Energy Programme, WWF.

Increased participation from consumers and other stakeholders in power sector decision-making could offer new opportunities for shared innovation. Civic Exchange and WWF note also the potential for greater public scrutiny to bolster a shortage of technical expertise within the EDLB. Energy policy is an area that Hong Kong is relatively weak in. Therefore, to create a better informed public and to accumulate expertise we believe a special energy sector body would be useful. We propose the setting-up of a Citizens Energy Committee to greater represent the interests of the people of the HKSAR in key energy sector decisions in the future.

Unless reforms along these lines are considered, we are sceptical that EDLB’s recommendations will set Hong Kong on the right energy path for the future.
WWF & Civic Exchange
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