Decision support framework for developing regional energy strategies

In an effort to reduce “carbon pollution” as well as prepare the U.S. for the impacts of climate change, President Obama’s 2013 Climate Action Plan calls for changes to be made to the nation’s energy system. In addition to focusing on alternative portfolios of different fuels and power-generation technologies, researchers and advisory panels have urged that changes to the nation’s energy system be based on a decision-making framework that incorporates stakeholders and accounts for real-world resource, supply, and demand constraints. To date, research and development on such a framework have proven elusive. The research reported here describes the development and test of a potential decision support framework that combines elements from structured decision-making (SDM) with portfolio analysis, methods that have been used independently to elicit preferences in complex decision contexts. This hybrid framework aimed to (1) provide necessary background information to users regarding the development of coupled climate-energy strategies; (2) account for users’ values and objectives; (3) allow for the construction of bespoke energy portfolios bounded by real-world supply and demand constraints; and (4) provide a more rigorous basis for addressing trade-offs. Results show that this framework was user-friendly, led to significant increases in users’ knowledge about energy systems and, importantly, led to more internally consistent decisions. For these reasons, this framework may serve as a suitable template for supporting decisions about energy transitions in the United States and abroad.

Decision support framework for developing regional energy strategies

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