Using a multi-method approach for decision-making about a sustainable local distributed energy system: A case study from Finland

Sanni Väisänen (Corresponding Author), Mirja Mikkilä, Jouni Havukainen, Laura Sokka, Mika Luoranen, Mika Horttanainen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Distributed energy systems (DESY) are used in many households as an alternative to conventional centralized energy production. While centralized energy production does offer certain advantages, there is growing interest in smaller distributed renewable energy production options. This study uses combines two different methodologies, namely life cycle assessment (LCA) and the analytical hierarchy process (AHP), to assess the sustainability of three energy scenarios, with the aim of finding the most sustainable combination of DESY options for a case municipality of approximately 220 inhabitants in Western Finland. The local production potentials of five renewable options: wind, small-scale hydropower, biogas, small-scale combined heat and power plants and photovoltaics (PV) were calculated after which the criteria for sustainability assessment were selected. Three scenarios were created to represent production mixes capable of meeting the electricity consumption needs of the area: 1) a non-biomass renewable energy option of wind power and hydro power, 2) hydropower combined with solar electricity and 3) a small-scale combined heat and power (CHP) plant with solar electricity. In addition, electricity production from biogas was used to bridge the gap between consumption and production in all three scenarios when needed. The values from the sustainability criteria were calculated by using LCA software database (GaBi 6.0) -information and literature values. Then the experts of the local energy production prioritized the sustainability criteria by pairwise comparisons resulting in valuations in sustainability assessment. The findings indicate that the application of two different methodologies strengthened the sustainability analysis and provided a large and relevant information base to support local decision-making in finding the optimally sustainable local DESY. In general, the results imply that scenario 1 with local hydropower and wind power has fewer negative impacts than other scenarios with PV and biomass utilization options. In the future, applying AHP in LCA may be useful in local sustainability assessment with stakeholder participation and in weighting other than environmental aspects of sustainability.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1330-1338
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Volume137
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fingerprint

Sustainable development
Decision making
decision making
sustainability
energy
Electricity
Cogeneration plants
combined heat and power
analytical hierarchy process
Life cycle
electricity
life cycle
wind power
Biogas
biogas
Wind power
power plant
small scale hydropower
methodology
method

Keywords

  • analytical hierarchy process
  • distributed electricity production
  • life cycle assessment
  • participatory decision making
  • renewable energy
  • multi-method decision-making

Cite this

Väisänen, Sanni ; Mikkilä, Mirja ; Havukainen, Jouni ; Sokka, Laura ; Luoranen, Mika ; Horttanainen, Mika. / Using a multi-method approach for decision-making about a sustainable local distributed energy system: A case study from Finland. In: Journal of Cleaner Production. 2016 ; Vol. 137. pp. 1330-1338.
@article{9f10e2cd1c984d32a13c19767fd09fb6,
title = "Using a multi-method approach for decision-making about a sustainable local distributed energy system: A case study from Finland",
abstract = "Distributed energy systems (DESY) are used in many households as an alternative to conventional centralized energy production. While centralized energy production does offer certain advantages, there is growing interest in smaller distributed renewable energy production options. This study uses combines two different methodologies, namely life cycle assessment (LCA) and the analytical hierarchy process (AHP), to assess the sustainability of three energy scenarios, with the aim of finding the most sustainable combination of DESY options for a case municipality of approximately 220 inhabitants in Western Finland. The local production potentials of five renewable options: wind, small-scale hydropower, biogas, small-scale combined heat and power plants and photovoltaics (PV) were calculated after which the criteria for sustainability assessment were selected. Three scenarios were created to represent production mixes capable of meeting the electricity consumption needs of the area: 1) a non-biomass renewable energy option of wind power and hydro power, 2) hydropower combined with solar electricity and 3) a small-scale combined heat and power (CHP) plant with solar electricity. In addition, electricity production from biogas was used to bridge the gap between consumption and production in all three scenarios when needed. The values from the sustainability criteria were calculated by using LCA software database (GaBi 6.0) -information and literature values. Then the experts of the local energy production prioritized the sustainability criteria by pairwise comparisons resulting in valuations in sustainability assessment. The findings indicate that the application of two different methodologies strengthened the sustainability analysis and provided a large and relevant information base to support local decision-making in finding the optimally sustainable local DESY. In general, the results imply that scenario 1 with local hydropower and wind power has fewer negative impacts than other scenarios with PV and biomass utilization options. In the future, applying AHP in LCA may be useful in local sustainability assessment with stakeholder participation and in weighting other than environmental aspects of sustainability.",
keywords = "analytical hierarchy process, distributed electricity production, life cycle assessment, participatory decision making, renewable energy, multi-method decision-making",
author = "Sanni V{\"a}is{\"a}nen and Mirja Mikkil{\"a} and Jouni Havukainen and Laura Sokka and Mika Luoranen and Mika Horttanainen",
year = "2016",
doi = "10.1016/j.jclepro.2016.07.173",
language = "English",
volume = "137",
pages = "1330--1338",
journal = "Journal of Cleaner Production",
issn = "0959-6526",
publisher = "Elsevier",

}

Using a multi-method approach for decision-making about a sustainable local distributed energy system: A case study from Finland. / Väisänen, Sanni (Corresponding Author); Mikkilä, Mirja; Havukainen, Jouni; Sokka, Laura; Luoranen, Mika; Horttanainen, Mika.

In: Journal of Cleaner Production, Vol. 137, 2016, p. 1330-1338.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Using a multi-method approach for decision-making about a sustainable local distributed energy system: A case study from Finland

AU - Väisänen, Sanni

AU - Mikkilä, Mirja

AU - Havukainen, Jouni

AU - Sokka, Laura

AU - Luoranen, Mika

AU - Horttanainen, Mika

PY - 2016

Y1 - 2016

N2 - Distributed energy systems (DESY) are used in many households as an alternative to conventional centralized energy production. While centralized energy production does offer certain advantages, there is growing interest in smaller distributed renewable energy production options. This study uses combines two different methodologies, namely life cycle assessment (LCA) and the analytical hierarchy process (AHP), to assess the sustainability of three energy scenarios, with the aim of finding the most sustainable combination of DESY options for a case municipality of approximately 220 inhabitants in Western Finland. The local production potentials of five renewable options: wind, small-scale hydropower, biogas, small-scale combined heat and power plants and photovoltaics (PV) were calculated after which the criteria for sustainability assessment were selected. Three scenarios were created to represent production mixes capable of meeting the electricity consumption needs of the area: 1) a non-biomass renewable energy option of wind power and hydro power, 2) hydropower combined with solar electricity and 3) a small-scale combined heat and power (CHP) plant with solar electricity. In addition, electricity production from biogas was used to bridge the gap between consumption and production in all three scenarios when needed. The values from the sustainability criteria were calculated by using LCA software database (GaBi 6.0) -information and literature values. Then the experts of the local energy production prioritized the sustainability criteria by pairwise comparisons resulting in valuations in sustainability assessment. The findings indicate that the application of two different methodologies strengthened the sustainability analysis and provided a large and relevant information base to support local decision-making in finding the optimally sustainable local DESY. In general, the results imply that scenario 1 with local hydropower and wind power has fewer negative impacts than other scenarios with PV and biomass utilization options. In the future, applying AHP in LCA may be useful in local sustainability assessment with stakeholder participation and in weighting other than environmental aspects of sustainability.

AB - Distributed energy systems (DESY) are used in many households as an alternative to conventional centralized energy production. While centralized energy production does offer certain advantages, there is growing interest in smaller distributed renewable energy production options. This study uses combines two different methodologies, namely life cycle assessment (LCA) and the analytical hierarchy process (AHP), to assess the sustainability of three energy scenarios, with the aim of finding the most sustainable combination of DESY options for a case municipality of approximately 220 inhabitants in Western Finland. The local production potentials of five renewable options: wind, small-scale hydropower, biogas, small-scale combined heat and power plants and photovoltaics (PV) were calculated after which the criteria for sustainability assessment were selected. Three scenarios were created to represent production mixes capable of meeting the electricity consumption needs of the area: 1) a non-biomass renewable energy option of wind power and hydro power, 2) hydropower combined with solar electricity and 3) a small-scale combined heat and power (CHP) plant with solar electricity. In addition, electricity production from biogas was used to bridge the gap between consumption and production in all three scenarios when needed. The values from the sustainability criteria were calculated by using LCA software database (GaBi 6.0) -information and literature values. Then the experts of the local energy production prioritized the sustainability criteria by pairwise comparisons resulting in valuations in sustainability assessment. The findings indicate that the application of two different methodologies strengthened the sustainability analysis and provided a large and relevant information base to support local decision-making in finding the optimally sustainable local DESY. In general, the results imply that scenario 1 with local hydropower and wind power has fewer negative impacts than other scenarios with PV and biomass utilization options. In the future, applying AHP in LCA may be useful in local sustainability assessment with stakeholder participation and in weighting other than environmental aspects of sustainability.

KW - analytical hierarchy process

KW - distributed electricity production

KW - life cycle assessment

KW - participatory decision making

KW - renewable energy

KW - multi-method decision-making

U2 - 10.1016/j.jclepro.2016.07.173

DO - 10.1016/j.jclepro.2016.07.173

M3 - Article

VL - 137

SP - 1330

EP - 1338

JO - Journal of Cleaner Production

JF - Journal of Cleaner Production

SN - 0959-6526

ER -