Keywords: renewable energy, non-renewable energy, energy technologies, technology evaluation, environmental impact, solar energy, photovoltaic, technology selection, solar power
A method for evaluating and selecting renewable and non-renewable energy technologies
This paper offers a simple method of evaluating the existing renewable and non-renewable energy technologies. The evaluation method is based on the weights given to the importance of six selection criteria: the economic viability; the conversion efficiency; the present level of the technological development; the environmental impacts; the after-production clean-up cost; the renewability and abundance of the source. This paper also outlines the main shortcomings of the energy technologies, based on which they are rated. These ratings together with the weights assigned to the selection criteria produce normalised scores for each technology which are then used for comparison. The existing energy technologies are evaluated from five different points of view, in which the importance of (the weights given to) the economic viability and the environmental impacts of the technologies are varied. The results show that in a society that assigns the highest importance to the economics of the energy production technologies, the non-renewable sources are the most attractive, but become less desirable, when the environmental impacts of the technologies are given any weight. In particular, even with a moderate weight (of two out of a maximum weight of four) given to the environmental impacts, the renewable technologies, especially solar thermal concentrator has become the technology of choice.