Despite being in an early stage of development, oil and gas projects are the most contentious type of energy project in Cyprus due to public concerns about health, safety and environmental impact. The most important lesson learned from such projects is the need for education. Local decision makers and the local community must be informed that their health and the environment are not in danger and that there is therefore no reason to oppose such energy projects.
The most contentious energy projects have centred on the extraction of lignite and hydrocarbons, the installation of renewable resource power plants and the development of the electricity grid. While the extraction of hydrocarbons has raised questions about the environmental effects of this activity and the consequences of oil extraction, these projects have significant support from local communities, since they promise sizeable increases in employment.
In Portugal, the most contentious energy projects are those that have or may have a social and environmental impact and which involve the construction of large-scale energy infrastructure. Although uncommon, opposition may arise when environmental impact statements are challenged by environmental organisations and local communities and where local communities advocate that the project should be subject to such an assessment.
While all kinds of energy project may face opposition to some extent, hydropower dams have proven to be the most contentious due to their environmental and social impact. In light of this, it is crucial for the government and stakeholders to ensure that specialists are fully heard regarding the viability and need for individual projects, in order to decide whether opposition is reasonable and to ensure that the country's best interests are fulfilled.
Disputes have arisen in Mexico regarding various types of energy-related investment. While it is difficult to conclude which type of energy project is the most contentious, those involving renewable energies, oil, gas pipelines and power generation have all been subject to controversy. Honesty is the best long-term strategy when undertaking an energy project. Acting contrarily will result in trouble for investors, as the community will feel that it has been misled.
The most controversial energy projects in China are those which involve high levels of chemicals, mainly because the Chinese chemical industry produces significant levels of pollution. One energy project that was delayed by public opposition was XiangLu Group's proposed petrochemical plant in Xiamen City. The government learned an important lesson from this project about respecting and protecting citizens' right to receive environmental information.