Hong Kong: Enthusiasm over reducing energy consumption by 6 per cent in 10 years

Hong Kong has set a target for cutting energy consumption by 6 per cent from the 2012 level in the next decade.

Secretary for Environment Wong Kam-sing described the target as “ambitious” as he unveiled the first energy-saving blueprint for Hong Kong yesterday. “Achieving early reduction is easier. In future, the more energy we want to save, the more difficult it will be,” he said.

The new initiative aims to cut energy intensity by 40 per cent by 2025 from the 2005 level. That replaces the old target of reducing it by 45 per cent by 2035, which was adopted at the 2011 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. The first Apec target adopted in 2007 was to cut energy intensity by 25 per cent by 2030.

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Energy intensity refers to the quantity of energy needed to produce one unit of gross domestic product. To translate the new target into actual energy reduction, it would mean cutting consumption by 6 per cent of the total energy consumed in 2012, equivalent to about 17,278 terajoules. Such a reduction would be equal to reducing carbon emissions by about 2,340 kilotonnes.

Wong said the new target was more ambitious than that of some European countries and Singapore. The latter city plans to cut energy intensity by 35 per cent by 2030, based on the 2005 level.

Hong Kong, unlike Singapore, has little heavy industry.

Hong Kong’s latest scheme is part of an effort to respond to a UN conference on climate change that will be held in Paris in November.

It also introduces a basket of measures for attaining the new target, including reviewing building energy codes once every three years and regularly extending the product coverage under the mandatory energy-efficiency labelling scheme.

As well, energy consumption will be further reduced by 10 per cent in government buildings in two phases, future public estates will be required to attain at least a “gold” rating under the existing green-building assessment scheme, and incentives will be offered to the private sector to build more green buildings.

While the Green Building Council will be engaged to retrofit existing buildings, which account for 90 per cent of electricity consumption, the government will also launch a city-wide campaign today to encourage people to save energy on daily basis.

However, the plan has been criticised for lacking innovation and for not giving concrete incentives to the private sector.

Wong said the target was supported by all bureaus.

Secretary for Development Paul Chan Mo-po added that the government might consider requiring developers to attain a certain green-building rating if they wanted to obtain concessions in gross floor area.

Under the existing mechanism, developers are given the concessions as long as they carry out a green-building assessment.

Source: South China Morning Post

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