The dependency on imported energy sources is a heavy burden for the socio-economic and energy security of Jordan. During the last decades, energy supply to Jordan has been very volatile, not only because of the volatility in prices for energy carriers, but also because of a number of external political shocks and setbacks. For example, an increase in the prices of crude oil, which happened during the Arab Spring in Egypt, significantly affected Jordan (dependent on energy imports from Egypt). The interruption of Egyptian gas supply forced Jordan to switch to much more expensive heavy fuels, creating a large burden on the Jordanian budget, which is significantly increasing the already existing budget deficit. Also, to cover for the difference between imported energy and affordability at the local market, the Jordanian government needs to heavily subsidize energy imports, which further increases its national deficit.
The collection of data for establishing the performance characteristics for each technology was based on different sources and methods encompassing both quantitative and qualitative data. The identification and selection of individuals was influenced by practical considerations, such as the availability, willingness to participate or opportunities that emerge during the research process. The identification of the technologies resulted in the following set of options:
- Utility-Scale Photovoltaic (PV), which uses direct and diffused solar radiation and converts it into electricity by using photovoltaic effect.
- Concentrated Solar Power (CSP), which with the help of different kinds of mirrors concentrates solar radiation onto a receiver and then converts it into thermal energy inside the received. Then thermal energy is transformed into mechanical energy with the help of a steam turbine and converted to electricity with the help of generator.
- Onshore Wind, which with the aid of wind turbines harnesses kinetic energy of the wind and converts it first into mechanical energy and then electricity.
- Utility Hydro-Electric uses water to turn a turbine that provides mechanical energy and drivers a generator.
- Nuclear Power, which uses the thermal energy released by uranium fission reactions.
- Lignite Coal, when the coal-fired power plant converts the chemical energy from coal into heal in the process of combustion. The heat is then used to generate steam which drives a turbine to produce electricity.
- Natural Gas, when kinetic energy from motion of flowing gas is utilized to generate electricity with the help of a gas turbine.
- Heavy Fuel Oil, when the oil-fired power plant uses the chemical energy of oil to generate electricity with the help of different kinds of steam systems.
All technologies were assessed against a set of 11 criteria, with a corresponding total of 20 indicators. Out of these, 9 indicators are quantitative and 11 are qualitative. The criteria were selected in a threefold, iterative process. This process included several interactions and iterations, through which the number of criteria were eventually narrowed down from 32 to the final set of 11 criteria.
The following stakeholder groups were identified.
- Policy-makers: stakeholders who are directly involved in electricity planning as well as generation and distribution;
- Finance and Industry: stakeholders who are characterized by high electrical power end-use as well as being directly involved in the implementation and financing of power generation capacities;
- Academia: stakeholders who are scientifically interested and involved in the research and development of electricity systems, e.g., universities, research institutions, and think tanks;
- Young Leaders: stakeholders who can be regarded as future decision-makers or opinion-leaders and have a strong interest in national energy planning due to their professional background, public engagement, and networks;
- National NGOs: stakeholders who have a strong interest in national energy planning and are involved in national NGOs working on environmental protection, social justice, and human development;
- Local Communities: stakeholders who live in close proximity to electricity generation technologies and are thus directly affected by national electricity planning;
Having obtained weights for preference strength relationships, we now proceed by assessing them together with ordinal weights. Based on the weightings of each stakeholder group and observations made during the workshops, the analysis of potential conflict lines and commonalities between the different stakeholder preferences was facilitated through negotiation.
The performance of the different electricity generation technologies were estimated from a larger expert survey. Together with the surrogate weights, they provided the decision base for the multi-criteria analysis. Using our aggregation principles the multiple criteria and stakeholder preferences could be combined with the valuation of the different technology options under the criteria weights. The cardinal ranking of DecideIT compares the performance of each alternative to the others and also provide an estimate of the reliability of the result. This tool of comparison considers the entire range of values to be the alternatives present across all criteria and shows how plausible it is that an alternative outranks the remaining.
The results of the evaluations are (i) a detailed analysis of the performance of each technology compared with the other technologies, and (ii) a sensitivity analysis to test the robustness of the result. The figure below shows part of the final results.
Rankings of the options for future energy strategies.
We have thus been using a multi-stakeholder MCDM approach with ordinal or imprecise importance information and suggest a method for how to incorporate various stakeholders’ views on energy technologies and their valuation under several criteria. The implementation of MCDM in Jordan was based first on stakeholders’ workshops with each of different groups of stakeholders and then also applied within a final concluding workshop with mixed groups of stakeholders.