‘I would say we are quite behind in comparison to London or other regions,’ Kumar explained in her appearance on the Conversations on Climate podcast today, which hosts London Business School alumni who want to drive better communication around climate change. Hong Kong’s decarbonisation targets ‘were not very ambitious when they were set,’ she said, and as a result renewable energy accounts for just 0.1% of the city’s energy mix today.

2050 targets a long way off

Even following last year’s update to theClimate Action Plan for 2050, which calls for net zero by mid-century, renewables have only been mandated to reach 7-10% by 2035. This is ‘the other way around for what the rest of the planet is trying to do,’ host and United Renewables CEO Chris Caldwell noted. ‘They’re trying to get it up to 70, 80, 85% of renewables and then fill in the gaps.’

Other factors, which have left the East Asian city-state lagging the rest of the developed world, include:

–           Lack of physical space, with the island of Hong Kong ranking 4th in global population density

–           Dated building stock with high energy demand for heating and cooling, in part due to Hong Kong’s volatile subtropical climate and high humidity

–           Minimal electric vehicle charging networks, with just one charger per five vehicles despite a government mandate to phase out combustion engines by 2035

Technology will ‘enable’ success, but it won’t be home-grown

Whilst stronger targets and more investment are required to drive decarbonisation up the agenda, Kumar also stressed private-sector innovations as a source of hope in reaching net-zero. Technology in particular has ‘convinced me that this is possible,’ she said.

Whilst automation, IoT (Internet-of-Things) and other digital technologies will help drive efficiency and demand reduction, Hong Kong will need to look abroad for these solutions. In her work withSmart Energy Connect on commercial retrofitting, Kritika ‘is looking to the technology either coming from Australia, the US, Singapore…how can we bring this technology to buildings in Hong Kong?’

United Renewables – a full-cycle green energy firm – created the Conversations on Climate podcast to enrich dialogue around the climate solution-space. It hosts leading experts from academia and the private sector for fortnightly conversations.

Episode 4 features Kritika Kumar who talks about Her vision of decarbonisation. Using IoT technologies to improve efficiency in new smart cities her vision also aligns with the view of Ramez Nasser, another LBS alum and business leader who appeared on Conversations on Climate last month.

His conversation, and all previous episodes, are available free to watch at: United Renewables website.

Contact details:

Contact Name: Isabella Hawke

Contact Address:
United Renewables,
Fort Anne,
IM1 5PD,
Isle of Man

Contact email: IIhawke@unitedrenewables.co.uk