Critical risk factors affecting the implementation of PPP waste-to-energy projects in China

Yelin Xu, Ping Chuen Chan, Bo Xia, Queena K. Qian, Yong Liu, Yi Peng

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

84 Citations (Scopus)


Since 2003, Mainland China has been promoting the public-private partnership (PPP) procurement model in the waste-to-energy incineration sector to reduce the waste burying rate and improve environmental quality. Five critical risk factors (CRFs) that affect the construction and operation of waste-to-energy incineration projects have been identified from real-life risk events of 14 PPP waste-to-energy incineration plants through content analysis. These risk factors are insufficient waste supply, disposal of non- licensed waste, environmental risk, payment risk, and lack of supporting infrastructure. A recently completed PPP waste-to-energy incineration plant, the Shanghai Tianma project, was investigated to learn from the effective management of CRFs. First-hand data about the Shanghai Tianma project was collected, with a focus on project negotiation and concession agreement. Lessons learned about risk management were acquired. This paper presents a detailed study of the contractual structure, risk sharing scheme, risk response measures to CRFs, and project transfer of a PPP project. The study results will provide governments with management implications to prepare equitable concession agreements and benefit private investors by effectively mitigating and managing risks in future PPP waste-to-energy incineration projects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)403-411
Number of pages9
JournalApplied Energy
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2015


  • China
  • Project transfer
  • Public-private partnership (PPP)
  • Risk management
  • Waste-to-energy incineration plant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction
  • Energy(all)
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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