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Power plants as megaprojects: Using empirics to shape policy, planning, and construction management


  • Brookes, Naomi J.
  • Locatelli, Giorgio


Megaprojects are historically associated with poor delivery, both in terms of schedule and cost performance. Empirical research is required to determine which characteristics of megaprojects affect schedule and cost performance. Capital-intensive power plants can be understood as megaprojects and time delays and cost escalation during the construction phase can undermine their overall economic viability. This paper presents a systematic, empirically based methodology that employs the Fisher Exact test to identify the characteristics of power plant megaprojects (PPMs) that correlate with schedule and cost performance. We present the results of applying this methodology to a dataset of 12 PPMs using nuclear, coal, and renewable resources as case studies. The results highlight the importance of modular technologies, project governance, and external stakeholder involvement. Key findings both support and contradict the literature. The paper provides two major original contributions. First, we present and apply a systematic, empirical and statistical approach to understanding PPMs planning and construction. Second, we show how this approach can be used to inform public policy and project management with regard to PPMs.

Suggested Citation

  • Brookes, Naomi J. & Locatelli, Giorgio, 2015. "Power plants as megaprojects: Using empirics to shape policy, planning, and construction management," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 57-66.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:juipol:v:36:y:2015:i:c:p:57-66
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jup.2015.09.005

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Giorgio Locatelli, 2018. "Why are Megaprojects, Including Nuclear Power Plants, Delivered Overbudget and Late? Reasons and Remedies," Papers 1802.07312,
    2. Locatelli, Giorgio & Invernizzi, Diletta Colette & Brookes, Naomi J., 2017. "Project characteristics and performance in Europe: An empirical analysis for large transport infrastructure projects," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 108-122.
    3. Greco, Marco & Locatelli, Giorgio & Lisi, Stefano, 2017. "Open innovation in the power & energy sector: Bringing together government policies, companies’ interests, and academic essence," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 316-324.


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