Finding energy answers

Finding energy answers

There are several public consultations underway. They are focusing on issues such as universal suffrage, waste management and energy mix.

Energy mix, or the overall energy policy, will set out the direction Hong Kong will take in relation to the energy we use. We have several options, including nuclear, natural gas, coal and renewable resources. I would like to encourage Young Post readers to carefully consider these options, because there is no simple answer.

It is easy to say we should avoid nuclear power because it is too dangerous. The disaster at the Fukushima power plant in Japan in 2011 has put a lot of people off the idea of nuclear power. However, in reality, more nuclear power plants will be built regardless of whether or not we embrace the idea.

Nuclear energy is becoming a national policy, and our view on the issue will not change this. Despite the potential for disaster, nuclear energy is still a clean and low-cost way to power a city. It is definitely something that should be considered.

Although not as controversial as nuclear power in terms of safety, natural gas does not come cheap. In the past, the gas price was a lot lower than its current level. Now we have to buy gas at the market rate, which changes all the time. It may be clean and safe, but using natural gas will mean paying more for our energy.

Then there is coal. Coal is one of the cheapest options, but it is dirty. Sure, it will keep our energy bills down. But using coal will also damage the environment.

The answer seems to be renewable energy. However, while it looks good on paper, it isn't always the best option in real life. It is wrong to believe renewable energy can instantly become our main source of electricity.

Our city is not rich in wind, tidal or even solar resources on a yearly basis. The power generated by renewable sources, even at the best of times, is only a tiny percentage of our normal power consumption. It is very expensive to build and operate a renewable power infrastructure. Are we willing to pay more for the sake of being "green"?

So in conclusion, it is fair to say there is no simple solution to the problem. All I ask is that you form your views on the issue realistically.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Finding energy answers

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