Title: Sustainability in the power plant choice

Authors: Giorgio Locatelli; Mauro Mancini

Addresses: Lincoln School of Engineering, University of Lincoln, Brayford Pool, Lincoln, LN6 7TS, UK ' Politecnico di Milano, Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering, Via Lambruschini 4/b, 20156 Milano – Italy

Abstract: International literature presents several studies on the economics of power plants based on cash flows. However there are sustainability factors (e.g., environmental and social aspects, etc.) able to heavily bear on the sustainability of certain investments. This paper lists and quantifies these factors and ranks under different scenarios the following technologies: hydro, coal, oil, gas and nuclear. Then an overall multi-attribute model, based on the quality function deployment approach, delivers a weight for each factor, dividing its impact in the three different sustainability dimensions: economic, environmental and social. Finally the factor weights and their performances are coupled to obtain an overall ranking. The results show that hydroelectric plants are usually the best solution. Coal and nuclear could be a good choice even if each type of plant has its strengths and weaknesses. On the contrary, the oil and gas-fired plants are always the worst choice.

Keywords: economic sustainability; environmental sustainability; social sustainability; power plants; base load; non-financial aspects; sustainable development; power plant economics; hydro power; coal power; oil power; gas power; nuclear power; hydro energy; coal energy; oil energy; gas energy; nuclear energy; quality function deployment; QFD; hydroelectric plants; power plant choice; power plant selection.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBIR.2013.052579

International Journal of Business Innovation and Research, 2013 Vol.7 No.2, pp.209 - 227

Available online: 12 Mar 2013 *

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