Trump’s wall – who will build it?
There has been a lot of concerns on both sides of the border regarding Donald Trump’s plan to build a 30ft wall, which will be over 3,000km long and span the entire Mexican border in a bid to reduce the number of Mexicans who have crossed the border illegally. The White House has recently issued preliminary guidelines, where the wall should be impenetrable, withstand people aiming to climb it or dig underneath, and also be able to withstand any physical assault. Constructed from concrete, the wall will need to source three times the quantity of concrete used within the infamous Hoover Dam project in the 1930s, according to the National Memo.
Both Mexican and American civilians have shown increased concerns due to the cost and rationale of the project – with argument also residing on who the responsible financier will, in addition to the impact on businesses in both in the US and Mexico, with the US importing high levels of consumables from the country.
Finding companies who are willing to undertake the project amongst the current US labour shortage will be tough. The wall will no doubt create around 20,000 roles, with architects and construction firms submitting new proposals and designs. Cemex has recently said it will not be pursuing the project, yet if Mexican workers ultimately undertake the construction work, it will be interesting to see how this will be received. Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo has commented: “We're not going to have laws to restrict companies but I believe considering your reputation it would undoubtedly be in your interest to not participate in the construction of the wall”, warning that such collaboration would not be in Mexico’s “best interest.”
Over 500 companies are submitting proposals, yet this could change following ongoing criticism within a number of US states, who have warned any US company undertaking the wall will face not moral consequences, but financial consequences as well. San Francisco’s Hillary Ronen and Aaron Peskin aim to introduce a ban on all companies who wish to submit proposals for the project, where they could ultimately become constructor. They will join California’s Berkeley City Council, who have also introduced a similar ban, alongside Oakland City Council.
This will impact US construction companies who have expressed interest in the wall, such as Hensel Phelps Construction and Tutor Perini Corporation. Construction companies located in other countries, such as Europe, Canada and South Africa have also expressed interest. There are plans for contracts to be formally signed at the end of May, so it won’t be long for the chosen building and suppliers to be named.
The wall will be a lucrative project to undertake, costing approximately $12 to $15 billion to construct, but it has been reported that this could easily escalate substantially to become double this cost. Mexico has point-blank refused to pay for the wall, with US taxpayers primarily funding the initial part of the walls construction. In retaliation, Business Insider has reported that Mexico aim to retaliate by placing a tax on consumables which the US heavily imports, such as corn, which will hurt the US economy.
Read the March 2017 issue of Construction Global here
Masdar, PT PLN begin work on floating PV solar project
UAE-based renewable energy company Masdar, in partnership with PT PLN, an organisation specialising in electrical power and owned by the Indonesian government, has announced today it has started work on a floating photovoltaic (PV) solar project in West Java. The company says the 145MW plant is the first of its kind in the country. The project, which will be constructed on the Cirata reservoir in West Java, was financed by the Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Societe Generale, and Standard Chartered Bank.
Developing the project is PT Pembangkitan Jawa Bali Masdar Solar Energi (PMSE), a joint venture between Masdar and PT PLN subsidiary PT PJBI. Bahlil Lahadalia, Minister of Investment for the Republic of Indonesia and chairman of the Indonesia Investment Coordinating Board, said: “This is a flagship project of the UAE’s investment in Indonesia, and most importantly, it is in line with the Indonesian Government’s target to increase renewable energy by 23% by 2025.”
Ladhadalia added: “The Ministry of Investment fully supports the investment realisation of the Cirata Floating Solar Project by PT PJBI and Masdar.” The plant is said to be the largest in south-east Asia, and one of the biggest in the world. Around 800 jobs will be created during its construction phase.
During the project’s development, Masdar has conducted several social initiatives to raise awareness of sustainability and strengthen the engagement of the local community. Talking about the partnership with Masdar, Amir Faisal, president director of PJBI, said: “We see tremendous potential for similar projects in Indonesia and we look forward to continuing our fruitful collaboration with Masdar to work on more renewable energy projects and help our nation achieve its clean energy objectives.
“This floating power project is a first for Indonesia and is also a significant step in PJBI’s renewable energy journey,” he added.
Facts about solar energy
- Solar power is the most abundant energy source on earth: There’s enough solar energy reaching the earth every hour to meet all of humanity’s power needs for a whole year.
- The cost of solar panels has fallen by 99% since 1977: The price per watt for a single solar cell in 1977 was US$77. Today that same cell costs Us$0.21 per watt US$0.39 per watt for an assembled module, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.
- China is the global leader in solar energy: Whilst solar power is increasing in popularity in the US, China is currently the country with the biggest uptake. Research conducted by GTM in 2017 predicted that the US would install 12.4GW of solar power during that year. China, on the other hand, installed 24.4GW of power in the first half of 2017 alone.