Sustainability assessment of electricity production using a logic models approach

By Ribeiro, F.; Ferreira, P.; Ara\'ujo, M.

Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews



The topic Sustainable Development has brought a wide discussion across a number of sectors in our society, namely in Power Systems. Given the need to address other concerns than the economic ones, decision makers must take into account the rationale that lies beneath strategic choices, such as investing in generation technologies using renewable energy or rather doing business as usual and installing fossil fuel power plants. In this paper logic models were used as a decision-aid supporting tool, with the aim of contributing to the assessment of the possible impacts of different power plants in terms of sustainable development. The analyzed electricity generation technologies were grouped in thermal, renewable energy sources (RESs) and nuclear. The literature review fed the construction of three relational diagrams to allow the visualization of environmental, social and economic causes and effects of the three groups of technologies. Departing from these initial diagrams a set of interviews with experts was conducted to enrich and validate the logic models. The results of the literature review and of these interviews allowed to conclude that the use of RES has wider positive social impacts on the long run, despite their short-term higher costs compared to the traditional groups (nuclear and thermal). These logic models revealed to be a useful tool providing a valuable starting approach for an Impact Assessment of the ongoing change that power systems have been going through.


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