A Hong Kong power company has come under attack for imposing huge charges on users who want to link "green" energy generators to the city's electricity grid, a report said Saturday.
Critics say the costs of an insurance policy required by China Light and Power (CLP) for companies and individuals who want to set up their own wind turbines and solar panels undermines the savings the schemes could achieve, according to the South China Morning Post.
More than a dozen organisations have set up their own generating units as power companies come under fire for contributing to chronic pollution that daily blankets Hong Kong, according to the report.
Airline Cathay Pacific was told it would have to pay 10,000 Hong Kong dollars (1,300 US) per month as insurance to cover a wind turbine it built on its headquarters building, the report added.
Cathay was also charged a 19,000 dollar technical assessment fee. The premiums — required to cover the costs of any disruptions the units may cause to the power grid — were far greater than the 2,400 dollars the scheme would save Cathay each year on power charges.
Edwin Lau, acting Hong Kong director of Friends of the Earth, attacked the requirement.
"What if I want to install a wind turbine on top of my village house and yet I have to pay an annual insurance fee of far more than I save?" he was quoted as saying.
The report said wind energy experts believed the reason for charging insurance was flawed, saying that generators could be disconnected within moments if trouble happened.
The report said CLP would not comment but admitted the charge could be a deterrent to individuals and non-profit organisations.
It added that Hong Kong's other power company, Hong Kong Electric, makes no such charge.