A methodology for decision making applied to new and renewable energy technologies in India

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


The increasing awareness of the need to look for new and renewable sources of energy to replace the depleting fossil-based resources has given rise to research in several prospective areas. While hydro power and bio energy has been with us long now, success and commercial viability is being achieved in solar energy applications. Similar trends are visible in wind energy. Long term potential for geothermal energy, sea power and fuel cells appear bright and they need to be vigorously looked into. This study looks at a decision making tool, Analytic Hierarchy Process—AHP—as a means of developing a methodology for exploring the feasibility of introducing new and renewable energy technologies in the Indian energy sector. AHP uses the hierarchical structure of a problem to elicit from a panel of experts, an opinion that is then used to derive composite opinions. The consistency of such opinions is monitored and those opinions that display a level of inconsistency above an acceptable threshold are rejected and modification requested. AHP has been tested and proved successful, in several other similar applications around the world and proves itself a good tool here too. A software package for its implementation had been developed earlier and is suitably modified to meet the objectives of this study.