Multi-criteria decision analysis for energy policy
Decisions in the field of energy are increasingly required to take into account economic, environmental and social issues simultaneously. Consequently, energy policy is regularly tasked with resolving problems that are complex, uncertain and imbued with value judgments. Under such circumstances, multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) is an invaluable tool to ensure robust, transparent decision-making. This chapter introduces the case for MCDA in the energy field, followed by the basics of MCDA itself, progressing from problem identification, through to structuring, model building, synthesis and the development of action plans. An overview of the various MCDA techniques is provided, with particular emphasis on Analytical Hierarchy Process, and the steps with which practitioners must become familiar are detailed. Two case studies, assessing the electricity mix in Turkey and the exploitation of shale gas in the UK, are used to explore the application, outcomes, benefits, and limits of MCDA.