energy demands. Yet, safety concerns following the 2011 meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima
nuclear power plant are reshaping how these projects are designed and built. Smaller, more
containable reactors are gaining traction, with ;ve such U.S. projects in the planning stages,
according to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. In Russia, Rosatom, a state-controlled
energy company, has launched a project to build the country’s ;rst ;oating nuclear power station by 2016. ;e ;oating reactor, moored to the sea ;oor, is surrounded by water that lowers
the risk of overheating and, once inactive, can be easily towed away for decommissioning.
Hydropower, another carbon-free alternative, has advanced in the age of high-priced
oil. Hydroelectric output grew by over 4 percent in 2012, driven primarily by large-scale
From 2014 to 2035, roughly US$700 billion will
be invested in liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects,
according to the International Energy Agency. This
investment is expected to stimulate growth in
regional gas markets, especially when local
production means lower shipping costs.
These global projects are looking to their location
for a strategic advantage:
PNG LNG, Papua New Guinea: The US$19 billion PNG LNG project connects a gas conditioning plant
with liquefaction and storage facilities across five of Papua New Guinea’s provinces. The 700-kilometer
(435-mile) integrated system boasts a capacity of 6. 9 million tonnes of LNG per year. The annual cost
over the project’s lifetime is projected to come in roughly 20 percent lower than Australia’s Gorgon
LNG project, giving project sponsor Exxon Mobil a low-cost advantage in the region.
Yamal LNG, Russia: One of the largest industrial undertakings in the Arctic, the Yamal LNG project will
drill more than 200 wells and reach a capacity of 16. 5 million tons of natural gas per year by 2017. The
US$27 billion project aims to reduce Russia’s reliance on pipeline transmission by incorporating a port
that will open up a maritime route to Europe and Asia.
Sutton Natural Gas Plant, Wilmington, North Carolina, USA: A new 625-megawatt combined-cycle natural gas plant began serving the U.S. states of North Carolina and South Carolina in 2013. The
opening of the US$600 million plant coincided with the retirement of a 575-megawatt coal-fired plant
that had been in operation for almost 60 years. The project, which began in 2010, involves decommissioning the site’s coal units and closing its coal ash basins to protect local groundwater supplies.
Liwan Gas Project, South China Sea, China: The US$6.5 billion Liwan gas project scaled up to production just seven years after the discovery of underwater reserves—making it one of the world’s fastest
deep-water natural gas projects. The first Liwan field, which began production in March, is expected to
pump out 250 million cubic feet ( 7. 1 million cubic meters) of gas per day. The project aims to help China
meet its skyrocketing energy demands, which are expected to nearly double by 2019.