This field trip can be summarized as one that explores the generation of electricity that we Hong Kong citizens so often take for granted. It has shown us the basic mechanisms of electricity generation by nuclear and hydroelectric, as well as the storage of electricity through water pumps. We were also given a chance to look at some demand side issues through visits to several factories. Apart from the information presented to us, this trip has also provided us with the chance to witness the fast-paced development of China. And last but not least, the meaningful discussions held daily with our professors and peers helped complete this meaningful trip.
On the second day of the trip, we visited the Water Pump Storage Plant at Conghua. This was one of the highlights of the trip in my opinion because I have learnt a lot from this place. With the comprehensive explanation from Mr. CP Yuen, I was able to understand how this Water Pump Storage Plant serves as a battery to store up electricity. We were also able to gain additional knowledge from the input Professor Bill Barron shared with us. The most interesting piece of fact picked up during the visit was that Hong Kong and Guangdong shared control over the Pump Storage System. This implies that both places could trade electricity directly if one decides to store while the other decides to generate. This means that some of the electricity used in Hong Kong is actually generated from coal-fired power plants in China. At the end of the day, with this close relationship between power plants across borders, we are unable to denote the carbon footprint so directly.
After seeing the difficulty in managing a power plant and the civil engineering ingenuity, it strikes me how much we have taken our electricity for granted. It is so hard to generate electricity but so easy to waste it. In Hong Kong, we can often see that air conditioners in some shops are on even with their doors wide open; and at schools or at home, unused hallways and rooms are often brightly lit. A possible reason for this phenomenon is that the cost of electricity is relatively cheap compared to the price of other daily necessities. As a result, we are not too worried about the amount of electricity we use. Although electricity is rather affordable in Hong Kong, I believe there is still a price to be paid for in terms of the limited resources being used up. We should use what we really need in order to avoid wastage and keeping such a thought in mind would be a form of respect to those who generate power for us.