A multi-actor perspective on multi-objective regional energy system planning

Ni Wang, Petra Heijnen, Pieter Imhof

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
192 Downloads (Pure)


Renewable energy investment is a complex process where multiple actors are often involved with their own, sometimes conflicting, interests. Here we propose a multi-actor multi-objective regional energy system planning approach to help actors gain mutual understanding regarding each other’s optimal investment wishes, in order to advance the planning process. This approach combines two models: Multi-Objective Optimization (MOO) and Technique for Order of Preference by Similarity to Ideal Solution (TOPSIS). The approach uses illustrative objectives and actors which is then applied to the greater Amsterdam region to showcase its usage and strength. The four chosen objectives, i.e. total Capital Expenditure, total Operation & Maintenance costs, land-use and visually impacted area are minimized simultaneously to obtain a set of Pareto-optimal solutions. These solutions are then evaluated for governments, funders and local residents with different preferences using TOPSIS. The case study shows that our approach is unique and useful when multiple actors have to decide together upon the energy investment capacities. It is able to provide quantitative and optimal decision-aiding from the multi-actor perspective and generate also sub-optimal yet acceptable solutions for all the actors. Based on our approach, the impacts of policy options can be revealed from the actors’ perspectives as well.
Original languageEnglish
Article number111578
JournalEnergy Policy
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Energy system planning
  • Land-use
  • Multi-actor perspective
  • Multi-criteria decision-making
  • Multi-objective optimization
  • Visually impacted area


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