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MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

The Impacts of Protracted Pre-Construction Delay in Hydropower Projects

Much of the world’s unexploited hydropower potential is in developing countries, many of whom are desperate for electricity and for water storage to support development. Yet these much needed projects are typically subject to extensive delays both before and during construction, which add to their cost and impacts and threaten their sustainability. Engineers have focused on the question of construction delay and made improvements in project management, but the implications of pre-construction delays are rarely documented or analysed. This analysis considers the impacts of pre-construction delay in hydropower projects and identifies how the adverse impacts of delay can be reduced to improve project sustainability. The impacts include obvious economic impacts on the countries concerned, but also less obvious environmental, social and even secondary economic impacts from project delays such as: the stress on communities of waiting years to be resettled; deforestation of project areas, lack of local investment and services and a disincentive for foreign investment caused by a lack of reliable power supply.



Course Overview


The need to engage in better problem definition through careful dialogue with all stakeholder groups and a proper recognition of context.


An ability to work with specialists from other disciplines and professional groups acknowledging that technical innovation and business skills also must be understood, nurtured and combined as precursors to the successful implementation of sustainable solutions.


An understanding of mechanisms for managing change in organisations so future engineers are equipped to play a leadership role.


An awareness of a range of assessment frameworks, sustainability metrics and methodologies such as Life Cycle Analysis, Systems Dynamics, Multi-Criteria Decision making and Impact Assessment.