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中英社評/全球熱浪港無恙 大樹底下好乘涼

香港是一塊福地,在眼下最熾熱的話題──全球熱浪滾滾中再次得到驗證。全球多地高溫打破歷史紀錄,因酷熱引發山火、機場跑道熔化、熱死人等新聞無日無之。香港也迎來特別炎熱的夏天,剛度過歷來最熱的大暑,昨日市區又錄得打破紀錄的攝氏36.1度高溫。儘管天氣反常,但得益於香港電力供應穩定,市民生活和工作基本上不受影響。其實,這正是祖國永遠是香港最堅定靠山的最直觀體現。

夏日的香港堪稱「冷氣之城」,不管地球如何「燃燒」,只要留在室內就可以享受清涼。有些場所的冷氣開得特別足,需要着外套保溫。野外高溫襲人,室內清涼世界,對比鮮明。相比一些地方因電力供應不足而不得不拉閘限電,甚至每日需停電數小時,生活在香港的確是一種福氣。

高溫時「嘆冷氣」,人們常認為這是理所當然的事。嘆冷氣的背後其實並不簡單。冷氣來自電力,香港發電的能源結構多樣化,現時一半電力來自天然氣發電,另外一半來自核電、煤電和少量的本地太陽能、風能等可再生能源,無論核電還是天然氣發電,都離不開國家的大力支持。1979年,香港電力公司電網和廣東電網連結,兩地開始供電合作。廣東大亞灣核電站生產的電力,八成供應給香港,經過南方電網的11條高壓電線路向香港輸送,並提供調峰調頻和事故應急服務。大亞灣核電站每年為香港供電100億千瓦時,至今已連續供應28年,累計供港電力3000億千瓦時,約佔香港用電量的四分之一。

就天然氣發電來看,香港和內地主要有三方面的合作。一是香港兩電參股廣東液化天然氣接收站項目,該項目每年從澳洲進口天然氣,其中大部分用於發電,香港是主要客戶之一,大埔製氣廠接收來自深圳大鵬灣的天然氣;二是香港電力公司從海南崖城購買天然氣,有關項目一度佔香港發電量四分之一;三是中石化、中石油等公司在香港開展油氣零售業務。

為向香港供應清潔、高效、穩定的能源,廣東不斷加強相關基礎建設,既為香港發展注入強勁動能,也減少了香港的二氧化碳排放。根據規劃,國家「十四五」期間,粵港兩地將進一步加強基礎設施互聯互通,開工建設500千伏皇崗輸變電工程,完成4條高壓輸電線路和深圳變電站的升級改造。屆時,內地對港最大供電能力將由現時的170萬千瓦再提升六成,緊急支援能力最大可達270萬千瓦。這意味着,無論未來氣候如何反常,內地都能保障對香港的穩定電力供應。

可能有人會說,香港的電力是付錢買的,屬於平等交易云云。話雖如此,但能源屬於戰略資源,並非有錢就能買得到,否則富裕的歐美不會出現能源危機,不會在高溫或嚴寒中煎熬。香港作為一個城市,要在國際市場搶能源殊非易事。香港能源供應充足無虞,源於中央關心和14億內地同胞的支持,即使內地在用電高峰期用電緊缺,廣東也曾限電,但對香港的供應都不受影響。

從食水、食品到能源,從抵禦國際金融危機到抗擊新冠疫情,香港的發展都離不開祖國的支持、中央的關愛。香港之「福」,其實是大樹底下好乘涼。港人特別是年輕人,身在福中,應知福、惜福,將福氣化為動力,把握機會,奮力向上,成就夢想。

2022-07-25

Hong Kong relaxes in the cool shade of a big tree amid global heat waves

The saying that Hong Kong is a blessed land once again proves true amid the global heat waves, which become the hottest topic of conversation these days. Many a place in the world has recorded the hottest-ever temperature. Everyday there are such news reports as wildfires have been triggered by the heat waves, a runway in some airport has melted, or some people have passed away due to hot temperature. Hong Kong also ushers in an extremely hot summer. Having just experienced the hottest-ever Great Heat, Hong Kong's urban area recorded a record-breaking temperature of 36.1 degrees Celsius yesterday. Despite the abnormal weather, citizens' everyday life and work on the whole are not affected thanks to the stable power supply in the city. As a matter of fact, this is the most intuitive manifestation of the reality that our Motherland is always Hong Kong's strong backing.

Hong Kong in the summertime could well be called an "air-conditioned city". One can enjoy the coolness as long as one stays indoors, no matter how it is "burning hot" elsewhere in the world. In some places the air conditioners run so powerfully that one has to put on a coat to keep warm. It is cool indoors while it is unbearably hot outside. What a sharp contrast! In some other regions, due to insufficient power supply, electricity rationing has to be imposed or electricity supply even has to be suspended for a few hours each day. By comparison, living in Hong Kong is truly fortunate.

Relaxing in the air-conditioned coolness is something people often take for granted. Yet it is not so simple behind the scene. Air-conditioning is powered by electricity. Hong Kong maintains a diversified fuel mix for electricity generation. Right now half of our electricity generation is fueled by natural gas, and the other half mainly by nuclear energy and coal including a small percentage by renewable energies such as local solar or wind energy. Electricity generation in Hong Kong fueled either by nuclear energy or natural gas cannot do without our country's firm support. In 1979, the power grid of Hong Kong's electricity companies was linked to Guangdong's grid, and the two places began cooperation in power supply. Eighty per cent of the electricity generated by Guangdong Daya Bay Nuclear Power Station is supplied to Hong Kong through China Southern Power Grid's 11 high-voltage electrical cables.  Services are also provided such as peak load and frequency regulation and contingency response. In each of the past 28 consecutive years, electricity supplied to Hong Kong by the Daya Bay Nuclear Power amounts to 10 billion kilowatt hours (kWh), so much so that the accumulated electricity supplied to Hong Kong totals 300 billion kWh accounting for a quarter of Hong Kong's power consumption.

In view of natural gas fueled power generation, Hong Kong's cooperation with the Mainland is mainly in three respects. One is that Hong Kong's two power companies have taken stakes in Guangdong Dapeng Liquefied Natural Gas (GDLNG) terminal, which imports Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) from Australia each year. The imported LNG is mainly used for power generation and Hong Kong is one of the major clients with the Tai Po Gas Production Plant receiving natural gas from Shenzhen's Dapeng Bay. The second is that Hong Kong's power companies buy LNG from Hainan's Yacheng, and the LNG import in this regard once accounted for a quarter of the SAR's total power generation. The third is that Mainland companies such as the Sinopec Group and PetroChina Company provide retail sales of petroleum products and natural gas.

In order to supply Hong Kong with clean, highly-efficient and stable energy, Guangdong keeps enhancing relevant infrastructure construction. This not only injects a strong driving power into Hong Kong for its development but also reduces the city's carbon dioxide emission. As planned, during the national 14th Five-Year Plan period, Guangdong and Hong Kong will further strengthen linkage and connection of each other's infrastructure facilities, kick off the construction of the 500-kilowatt Huanggang power transmission and transformation project and complete upgrading and renovating four high-voltage cables and the Shenzhen Electrical Substation. By then, the Mainland's maximum capacity of power supply to Hong Kong will increase 60 per cent from the current 1.7 million kilowatts with the contingency response capacity reaching up to 2.7 million kilowatts. This is meant that the Mainland can guarantee stable power supply to Hong Kong no matter how abnormal the weather will become in future.

Some people may argue that Hong Kong pays money to buy the electricity so this is just a fair deal. But, be that as it may, energy is a strategic resource, not something that could be easily bought by money. Otherwise, the rich Europe and United States could not possibly have encountered any energy crisis, let alone suffered terribly in high-temperature or severe-cold weather. It is by no means easy for Hong Kong, as a city, to grab energy in the international market. Hong Kong's sufficient energy supply comes from the Central Government's care and the 1.4 billion Mainland compatriots' support. Even when the Mainland faced power shortages during peak times and Guangdong had also to impose electricity rationing, electricity supply to Hong Kong was not affected.

From [supplies of] fresh water, foodstuff to energy, from guarding against an international financial crisis to fighting the Covid-19 virus, Hong Kong's development cannot do without the Motherland's support and the Central Government's care. Hong Kong is "blessed" which in reality means it is sheltered under a big tree. Hong Kong citizens especially the young people, being well blessed, should appreciate and cherish the blessing, and turn it into a driving force to seize opportunities, strive to make progress and make their dreams come true.

25 July 2022

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