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Modified PROMETHEE approach for assessing energy technologies

Julia Oberschmidt (Competence Center Energy Policy and Energy Systems, Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research, Karlsruhe, Germany)
Jutta Geldermann (Georg‐August‐Universität Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany)
Jens Ludwig (Institute for Industrial Production, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Karlsruhe, Germany)
Meike Schmehl (Georg‐August‐Universität Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany)

International Journal of Energy Sector Management

ISSN: 1750-6220

Article publication date: 29 June 2010




The purpose of this paper is to elaborate a multi‐criteria methodology for the performance assessment of energy supply technologies, which also takes into account the dynamics of technological change.


The approach chosen is based on the multi‐criteria outranking methodology Preference Ranking Organisation METHod for Enrichment Evaluations (PROMETHEE), which is linked to the concept of technology's life cycle by assigning criteria weights depending on the actual development phase of a certain technology. The modifications to the PROMETHEE algorithm are described and the modified methodology is demonstrated by evaluating heat and power supply alternatives for a municipal area in Germany.


The methodology is suitable for the evaluation of energy technologies taking into account varying preferences depending on their stage of maturity. It is a feasible alternative to other methodologies which allow for interconnections like the analytic network process. The results show that, based on a multi‐criteria life cycle approach, renewable energy technologies are competitive with conventional alternatives for supplying heat and power.

Practical implications

Appropriate methods are required to elicit life cycle‐dependent preferences. Decision support should help decision makers (DMs) to articulate preferences according to different development phases and illustrate the results in the most meaningful way.


The methodology provides the basis for a comprehensive analysis of energy technologies at different life cycle stages. It can be used to support decision making in different situations and by various actors.



Oberschmidt, J., Geldermann, J., Ludwig, J. and Schmehl, M. (2010), "Modified PROMETHEE approach for assessing energy technologies", International Journal of Energy Sector Management, Vol. 4 No. 2, pp. 183-212.



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