The scale of capital project investment in the utilities sector is immense. Many companies are managing the biggest capex programmes they’ve ever undertaken.
It’s not only the scale that is bigger but the nature of capital projects is very different from earlier periods of capital project expansion in the sector.
Projects are more likely to be managed in a range of territories. They have to be delivered against the background of significant and often volatile market change. And the rate of technological change means you have to allow for technology and software moving on by the time the project is completed.
There’s also the sheer variety of requirements. Grid infrastructure, new transmission networks, better interconnectors, replacement of ageing assets are all pressing concerns quite apart from investment in new renewable, nuclear and fossil fuel generation capacity.
New and challenging locations add to the risks that have to be managed. Deepwater offshore windpower development in Europe’s North Sea, for example, is now being planned at 50 metre depths with substantial shipping, port, foundations and rig requirements.