Presenter/Author Information

S. Mandera
C. Gough

Keywords

renewable energy, geological carbon sequestration, multi-criteria decision analysis, stakeholder involvement

Start Date

1-7-2002 12:00 AM

Description

Achieving a low carbon energy supply in a future society driven by the impacts of climate change will require huge technological changes. This paper compares the methodological implications of assessing two very different technological solutions – renewable energy and geological carbon sequestration. The UK has high renewable resources, in particular the highest wind resource in Europe. In contrast, atmospheric emissions from fossil fuels could be avoided by storing carbon dioxide in underground geological formations for which the UK has a huge potential capacity. These two technological approaches will have diverse and wide ranging impacts; both inspire views amongst stakeholders that are highly polarised and fiercely held. Each is associated with a wide variety of potential benefits and impacts, some of which can be quantified, others which can not; a systematic framework is needed in order to analyse alternatives with such varying characteristics in a way that allows the involvement of stakeholders from a variety of perspectives. Multi criteria decision analysis (MCDA) has been used to provide a framework under which a number of alternatives can be scored against a series of defined criteria. Here we explore the different methodological challenges introduced by these two technologies under a common assessment framework. In the case of wind energy, there are already tangible and visible examples and stakeholders already have experience of the technology. In contrast, carbon sequestration is invisible, uncertain and relatively untested. Ultimately it is likely that these two technologies will be deployed as complementary solutions, both playing a central role in reaching the goal of a decarbonised society.

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Jul 1st, 12:00 AM

Multi Criteria Evaluation of Low Carbon Energy Technologies

Achieving a low carbon energy supply in a future society driven by the impacts of climate change will require huge technological changes. This paper compares the methodological implications of assessing two very different technological solutions – renewable energy and geological carbon sequestration. The UK has high renewable resources, in particular the highest wind resource in Europe. In contrast, atmospheric emissions from fossil fuels could be avoided by storing carbon dioxide in underground geological formations for which the UK has a huge potential capacity. These two technological approaches will have diverse and wide ranging impacts; both inspire views amongst stakeholders that are highly polarised and fiercely held. Each is associated with a wide variety of potential benefits and impacts, some of which can be quantified, others which can not; a systematic framework is needed in order to analyse alternatives with such varying characteristics in a way that allows the involvement of stakeholders from a variety of perspectives. Multi criteria decision analysis (MCDA) has been used to provide a framework under which a number of alternatives can be scored against a series of defined criteria. Here we explore the different methodological challenges introduced by these two technologies under a common assessment framework. In the case of wind energy, there are already tangible and visible examples and stakeholders already have experience of the technology. In contrast, carbon sequestration is invisible, uncertain and relatively untested. Ultimately it is likely that these two technologies will be deployed as complementary solutions, both playing a central role in reaching the goal of a decarbonised society.