Local power utility CEM is looking to replace its fuel oil generators with ones that use natural gas to produce cleaner electricity, which could cost 1.7 billion patacas, CEM Executive Committee Chairman Bernie Leong Wa Kun said on Wednesday.
Leong made the remark while speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the company’s annual Spring Festival media lunch at the Grand Hyatt in Cotai.
Last year, the company imported 88 percent of its electricity from the mainland, at the rate of roughly 0.70 yuan per kilowatt hour, according to Leong.
Leong said that while there could be a “slight decrease” in electricity charges this year because international oil prices appeared to remain stable, or even drop a bit, and the price of imported electricity was expected to remain unchanged, the company also wanted to increase its own production of electricity so as to be able to provide a more stable electricity tariff.
“Our [current] production is limited,” Leong said. “We’re discussing with the government to see whether we have any possibility of replacing the old generators’ capacity with new modern environmentally-friendly technology to produce energy. In this case, of course, natural gas is the best source.”
There have been complaints about pollution by the company’s power plant in Coloane. However, Leong insisted that this was a temporary problem caused by the generators for several hours after they were switched on. He pledged that the problem will be solved soon.
Leong also said that CEM was currently working on a proposal on the natural gas project and hoped to submit it to the government in the first half of the year.
“With this technology and a reasonable price of natural gas we can produce more economical energy in Macau and overall our tariff would be stabilised,” Leong said, adding, “I don’t have a very precise figure [for this investment], but I would say it’s around 1.7 billion patacas.”
In addition, CEM plans to invest one billion patacas this year to enhance its energy transmission and distribution network to cope with the city’s increasing power demand.
Leong said that as there are on-going construction projects and new casino-hotel resorts opening this year, energy consumption was set to grow about five percent this year.
Meanwhile, government-owned broadcaster TDM reported on Wednesday that CEM recorded a net profit of 648 million patacas last year, up 11.5 percent year-on-year, citing an unnamed source of the company. (macaunews/macaupost)