Powering Hong Kong's Future: The Nuclear Energy Initiative

CLP Power Hong Kong plans to increase its nuclear energy capabilities from China to 60-70% by 2035, aligning with China's Paris Agreement commitments and global climate mitigation efforts.

Powering Hong Kong's Future: The Nuclear Energy Initiative
Photo Source: Aerial View of the City During Day Time, Ryan Mac via Unsplash. 2018 July 31

14-06-2024

Marina Sáenz

Human Rights Researcher

Global Human Rights Defence

 

CLP Power Hong Kong is spearheading a visionary initiative to bolster the city's energy sustainability through expanded nuclear power capabilities sourced from mainland China. With a strategic aim to elevate zero-carbon energy generation from its current 25 percent to more than 60 percent by 2035, Managing Director Joseph Law Ka-chun underscores the pivotal role of nuclear energy in achieving Hong Kong's ambitious decarbonisation targets. Anchored by the proven success of the Daya Bay Nuclear Power Plant in Shenzhen, which has supplied 80 percent of its electricity output to Hong Kong over the past three decades, this initiative represents a critical step towards enhancing energy security and resilience in the region.

 

In an exclusive interview with The Standard, Joseph Law Ka-chun, Managing Director of CLP Power Hong Kong, articulated the strategic imperative behind the company's initiative to expand nuclear power capabilities sourced from mainland China. With Hong Kong aiming to elevate its zero-carbon energy generation from the current 25 percent to between 60 to 70 percent by 2035, Law outlined a phased approach to achieve ambitious decarbonization targets. This strategy begins with reducing reliance on coal and increasing natural gas usage to mitigate air pollutants and carbon emissions. The subsequent phase emphasises the pivotal role of nuclear energy in providing a stable and reliable base-load power source, essential for meeting Hong Kong's energy demands. Law stressed that while renewable energies like wind and solar are valuable, their intermittent nature necessitates a complementary base-load power source like nuclear energy to ensure a consistent supply. Highlighting the success of the Daya Bay Nuclear Power Plant, which has supplied 80 percent of Hong Kong's electricity needs for over three decades, Law underscored the plant's critical role in enhancing energy security and resilience. Looking ahead, Law emphasised the importance of collaborative efforts with mainland China to explore new nuclear energy resources, leveraging China's significant expertise with 56 operational nuclear units and an additional 26 under construction, the highest globally. He also addressed safety concerns, noting stringent regulatory standards and continuous improvements in nuclear technology to safeguard against potential risks like those addressed at Daya Bay following upgrades to enhance protections against natural disasters.

As a Special Administrative Region of China, Hong Kong aligns its environmental policies and commitments with China's national strategies under international agreements like the Paris Agreement. While Hong Kong itself is not a signatory to the agreement, it follows China's lead in addressing global climate challenges. China, the world's largest emitter of carbon dioxide, has committed to ambitious goals within the Paris Agreement framework, including peaking carbon emissions before 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality by 2060. Hong Kong's integration of nuclear energy into its energy mix supports China's efforts towards these goals, contributing to overall regional and global efforts in combating climate change. This alignment ensures that Hong Kong's energy policies are consistent with international best practices and standards, reinforcing its commitment to sustainable development and environmental stewardship on a global scale.

As CLP Power Hong Kong charts a course towards a sustainable energy future, its strategic integration of nuclear power sourced from mainland China underscores a commitment to reducing carbon emissions and enhancing energy resilience. By aligning with China's ambitious climate goals under international agreements like the Paris Agreement, Hong Kong not only aims to secure a stable and environmentally responsible energy supply but also contributes to global efforts in combating climate change.

  

 

Sources and further readings:

The Standard. (12 June 2024). Possibility of new nuclear energy to feed HK explored. The Standard.  https://www.thestandard.com.hk/breaking-news/section/4/217317/Possibility-of-new-nuclear-energy-to-feed-HK-explored

Eric Ng. (10 March 2024). Climate change: Hong Kong energy giant CLP takes the nuclear option to hit decarbonisation targets. The South China Morning Post. https://www.scmp.com/business/companies/article/3254724/climate-change-hong-kong-energy-giant-clp-takes-nuclear-option-hit-decarbonisation-targets