NOTE: This post is not an endorsement of any political candidate! If anything, it is an endorsement of project management and project managers.
“I will build a great wall, and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me, and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border and I will make Mexico pay for that wall, mark my words.”
- Donald Trump, candidate for President of the United States
This post is indeed about walls. But instead of border walls, it’s about sea walls. Why sea walls? Well, they’re an instrumental part of several huge, huge, great projects (to paraphrase Mr. Trump) which will engage many of our peer project managers, whatever their politics.
An article in The Edge, from the April 2016 issue of PM Network, says, “a growing number of organizations are now launching projects to generate power from the ocean. Many of these projects are based in the UK, but they are also going to take place elsewhere, particularly in North America and in China.
Projections (see chart, imagined from data in the article), take the investment from $25M in 2013 to over $10B in 2020.
That’s quite a ‘wave’ of investment, and spells lots of opportunities for project managers. Key to this demand is the predictability of the tides, as contrasted to the uncertainty and variation in solar and wind power – forcing them to rely on effective storage of power (another area of research and project management!).
Here’s an example: In Swansea, Wales, there is a $1.5B tidal lagoon project which is set to generate power for 150,000 homes for over a century. This project includes the creation of large (great, great!) sea walls.
Here’s another one: in China, there is a $30B proposed tidal wall, using special curved blades to help limit damage to sea life, which will be built by a consortium of eight Dutch companies. In China, this is illustrative of the gigantic increase in renewable energy spending. China is leading the way here with $110B invested in 2015 alone, and the US in second place at $56B.
Here is an excellent video (just 3 minutes) showing the technology behind the tidal project to be built off the coast of China.
Of course, China has some history building great, Great Walls…
In any case - these green-by-definition projects present great opportunities for project managers who have learned about the importance of sustainability in projects, and in project, program, and portfolio management.