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Acceptability of energy sources using an integration of the Delphi method and the analytic hierarchy process


  • Simone Di Zio


  • Mara Maretti



The research presented in this paper is structured on the basis of the extensive literature on the world energy shift and, in particular, the dynamics of the political, social, market, and community acceptability of different energy sources. This study attempts to determine which sources of energy are most accepted or preferred by political systems, public opinion, and the market and the weights that these dynamics of acceptability have on the global energy shift. In this theoretical framework, we present an application and propose a methodology resulting from the integration of two methods: the Delphi method and the analytic hierarchy process (AHP). While Delphi seeks a convergence of opinions among a group of experts, the AHP helps solve complex decision problems using a hierarchical structure. To integrate the Delphi and AHP methods, we propose an innovation in the way the feedbacks are circulated among the participants. The experts’ judgements are given in a box-plot using a slider, which simplifies the procedure because the respondents have all the most important information on the distribution of responses from the previous round. At the same time, our method eliminates the problem of the choice of one of the diverse methods of aggregation, which are necessary when the AHP is applied in a group setting. The application of this method to energy issues and the dynamics of the acceptability of the different sources in particular revealed the feasibility and advantages of the instrument and produced interesting results. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Suggested Citation

  • Simone Di Zio & Mara Maretti, 2014. "Acceptability of energy sources using an integration of the Delphi method and the analytic hierarchy process," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 48(6), pages 2973-2991, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:qualqt:v:48:y:2014:i:6:p:2973-2991
    DOI: 10.1007/s11135-013-9935-0

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. van der Horst, Dan, 2007. "NIMBY or not? Exploring the relevance of location and the politics of voiced opinions in renewable energy siting controversies," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 2705-2714, May.
    2. Saaty, Thomas L. & Shang, Jen S., 2007. "Group decision-making: Head-count versus intensity of preference," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 22-37, March.
    3. Yoram Wind & Thomas L. Saaty, 1980. "Marketing Applications of the Analytic Hierarchy Process," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 26(7), pages 641-658, July.
    4. Wolsink, Maarten, 2000. "Wind power and the NIMBY-myth: institutional capacity and the limited significance of public support," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 49-64.
    5. Lai, Vincent S. & Wong, Bo K. & Cheung, Waiman, 2002. "Group decision making in a multiple criteria environment: A case using the AHP in software selection," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 137(1), pages 134-144, February.
    6. Norman Dalkey & Olaf Helmer, 1963. "An Experimental Application of the DELPHI Method to the Use of Experts," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 9(3), pages 458-467, April.
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