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Posted on August 29, 2011 by  & 

Fishermen go low carbon with HK Electric-sponsored micro PV panels

The local fishing industry today sailed into a low carbon era with some 500 vessels and mariculture rafts taking part in a programme sponsored by HK Electric, a subsidiary of Power Assets, to use micro-photovoltaic (PV) panels to harness solar energy for daily operations.
A milestone for applying renewable energy (RE) in the fishing sector, the project covers vessels of various lengths around the territory as well as mariculture rafts. Every vessel will be equipped with two PV panels, each of 30 watts, and the first batch of over 100 vessels have already had panels installed which can generate green electricity for electrical appliances on board.
HK Electric's Director of Engineering (Planning and Development), Mr. Wan Chi-tin, said fishermen live at sea and care very much for the environment. However, only a few could afford to turn to renewable energy.
"We have all along supported the wider application of RE in Hong Kong and believe that this green action by fishermen is worth supporting, hence our decision to sponsor $1 million to fund the installation of PV panels on about 500 fishing vessels and mariculture rafts," Mr. Wan said, adding that the panels offered environmental, operational and financial benefits.
Solar power is emission-free and the panels can produce a total of over 30,000 units of green electricity a year. If not for RE, it is expected that fishermen will have to consume over 9,000 litres of diesel oil to produce the same output and generate over 20 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.
The installations also provide extra convenience for small vessels. Stored in batteries, solar energy can power basic operations of small vessels even when it is docked, without the diesel-powered engine left idling. Some fishermen said they could save 100-200 litres of diesel oil for one vessel and savings in fuel costs of about $1,000 a month, in addition to cutting down on CO2 emissions by 400 kilogrammes. If 100 vessels achieve similar savings, the total CO2 reduction can reach 400 tonnes a year.
Fishermen representatives said the PV panels are easy to install and help reduce operational costs. They thanked HK Electric for providing them with an opportunity to help protect the environment.
Mr. Wan hopes fishermen could share their experience with others after joining the programme. "In moving towards a low carbon economy, RE is becoming more important as an alternative source of energy. At HK Electric, we have plans to expand the application of both wind and solar energy."
Work is in progress to expand the 550 kilowatt solar power system at Lamma Power Station, the largest of its kind in Hong Kong, to a one megawatt facility which can generate over 1.1 million units of electricity a year. The existing system has generated over 730,000 units of electricity in its first year, exceeding design targets by 18% and reducing CO2 emissions by 610 tonnes.
Mr. Wan added: "Apart from harnessing solar energy, HK Electric is also keen to apply wind energy on a larger scale with the development of an offshore wind farm in the southwest of Lamma Island. The project has made good progress in the past year and we are going to set up a wind monitoring station at the site next month with a view to commencing data collection by the end of the year."
Mr. Wan said HK Electric would continue to keep in close dialogue with fishermen to hear their views and concerns related to the project.
Source and image: HK Electric
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