The Influence of Social Preferences on Multi-Criteria Evaluation of Energy Scenarios
FCN Working Paper No. 3/2008
39 Pages Posted: 20 Oct 2010
Date Written: August 2008
Participatory multi-criteria evaluation (MCE) is increasingly used for the integrated assessment of future scenarios. Determining weights of the different criteria constitutes one of the biggest challenges of MCE. This paper investigates the influence of weights on the ranking of scenarios and reflects critically on the use of weights as representations of social preferences in participatory MCE. Conceptually, this exercise builds on the literature on integrated assessment and decision making under uncertainty; empirically, insights are drawn from two case studies of renewable energy scenario assessment for Austria at the national and local level. The analysis exhibits a robust ranking for the local level, especially for the highest ranked scenarios. In the national case study, the analysis finds two robust scenario clusters which never switch ranks, whereas the ranking of the scenarios within the clusters flips with minor alters in weights. This paper argues that in participatory MCE different sets of stakeholders’ priorities can be taken into account in a transparent and robust manner. The discussion explores inhowfar weights represent social preferences better than direct ranking of alternative scenarios by stakeholders on the basis of scenario presentations.
Keywords: social preferences, participatory multi-criteria evaluation, renewable energy, scenario analysis, sustainable energy systems
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