The variety of choices made when creating or deciding on energy technologies or systems to achieve a certain goal or set of goals is referred to as decision-making in the energy sector (e.g., designing a more efficient compressor, selecting a type of power plant to produce a specified amount of electricity at minimal capital cost, selecting a particular renewable source of energy, selection of fuels, etc.). The decision-maker must have knowledge about the performance of the available energy technology/system options in order to make informed or reasoned decisions in the energy sector. It relies on the decision-maker (such as an engineer, a private investor, a public utility, or a government agency) and the goals of their decisions (such as maximising technology/system performance, maximising return on investment, meeting renewable portfolio standards, and increasing energy security). Technical, environmental, and economic performance are broadly defined as relevant criteria for energy decision-making. In order to assess the effectiveness of energy technology/systems and offer data for use in the decision-making process, analysis techniques are used. Decision-makers assess their options for energy technology/systems and use the performance data that analysis tools provide to make informed choices. The quality of their decisions can have a direct impact on the projected results of those decisions.
It must be emphasised that there is often more than one criterion for selection when selecting the best alternative energy technology/system option, and decision-makers must take all criteria into account. Decision-makers require straightforward, methodical, and logical approaches or mathematical tools to help them think through various energy technology/system option selection criteria and how they relate to one another. Any selection process has as its goal the identification of pertinent selection criteria and the acquisition of the most pertinent arrangement of those criteria in relation to the actual requirement. As a result, more work must be put into identifying the criteria that affect the choice of an alternative energy option for a particular application, weeding out unsuitable energy options, and choosing the best alternative energy option by applying clear-cut logic to strengthen the existing selection procedures. The recently developed multi-criteria decision-making (MCDM) method, named as R-method, can be used for the purpose of selecting a right energy technology/system option. The proposed method is highly straightforward and practical in circumstances where time is limited and there is qualitative criteria, incomplete, or partial data, and the decision maker's limited time and capability to process the information. Three case studies are presented and the proposed method is shown to be simpler and more effective than the alternative MCDM methods for making decisions in the energy sector.
BIOGRAPHICAL NOTEDr. R. V. Rao is a Professor (Higher Administrative Grade) in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Sardar Vallabhbhai National Institute of Technology (SVNIT), Surat, which is an institute of national importance of the Government of India. He has more than 32 years of teaching and research experience, having completed his B.Tech. in 1988, M.Tech. in 1991, Ph.D. in 2002 and D.Sc. in 2017. Dr. Rao’s teaching and research interests include: thermal systems and devices, renewable energy systems and technologies, numerical methods, advanced optimization algorithms and their applications to the problems of design, thermal and manufacturing engineering.
Dr. Rao has more than 375 research papers to his credit, published in national and international journals and conference proceedings, and has received national and international awards for his research efforts. His H-index is 66 (Google Scholar) with number of citations of more than 21700. His research profile can be found at here. He has guided 16 PhD candidates and more than 60 Masters dissertations. He is on the editorial boards of several international journals. Apart from conducting a number of short-term training programs for faculty members and professionals on advanced engineering optimization techniques, he has handled numerous research projects including the bi-lateral projects with Austria, Russia and Slovenia. He also worked as a Visiting Professor in Thailand, Poland, and UAE. He has authored eight books, and all these have been published by Springer.