Decision making under uncertainty using a qualitative TOPSIS method for selecting sustainable energy alternatives

Abstract

Multi-criteria decision-making methods support decision makers in all stages of the decision-making process by providing useful data. However, criteria are not always certain as uncertainty is a feature of the real world. MCDM methods under uncertainty and fuzzy systems are accepted as suitable techniques in conflicting problems that cannot be represented by numerical values, in particular in energy analysis and planning. In this paper, a modified TOPSIS method for multi-criteria group decision-making with qualitative linguistic labels is proposed. This method addresses uncertainty considering different levels of precision. Each decision maker’s judgment on the performance of alternatives with respect to each criterion is expressed by qualitative linguistic labels. The new method takes into account linguistic data provided by the decision makers without any previous aggregation. Decision maker judgments are incorporated into the proposed method to generate a complete ranking of alternatives. An application in energy planning is presented as an illustrative case example in which energy policy alternatives are ranked. Seven energy alternatives under nine criteria were evaluated according to the opinion of three environmental and energy experts. The weights of the criteria are determined by fuzzy AHP, and the alternatives are ranked using qualitative TOPSIS. The proposed approach is compared with a modified fuzzy TOPSIS method, showing the advantages of the proposed approach when dealing with linguistic assessments to model uncertainty and imprecision. Although the new approach requires less cognitive effort to decision makers, it yields similar results.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1

References

  1. Afsordegan A, Sánchez M, Agell N, Aguado JC, Gamboa G (2016) Absolute order-of-magnitude reasoning applied to a social multi-criteria evaluation framework. J Exp Theor Artif Intell 28(1–2):261–274

    Google Scholar 

  2. Agell N, Sánchez M, Prats F, Roselló L (2012) Ranking multi-attribute alternatives on the basis of linguistic labels in group decisions. Inf Sci 209:49–60

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Akash BA, Mamlook R, Mohsen MS (1999) Multi-criteria selection of electric power plants using analytical hierarchy process. Electr Power Syst Res 52(1):29–35

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Amiri MP (2010) Project selection for oil-fields development by using the AHP and fuzzy TOPSIS methods. Expert Syst Appl 37:6218–6224

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Aras H, Erdomu S, Koç E (2004) Multi-criteria selection for a wind observation station location using analytic hierarchy process. Renew Energy 29:1383–1392

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Ashtiani B, Haghighirad F, Makui A, Montazer GA (2009) Extension of fuzzy TOPSIS method based on interval-valued fuzzy sets. Appl Soft Comput 9(2):457–461

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Baños R, Manzano-Agugliaro F, Montoya F, Gil C, Alcayde A, Gómez J (2011) Optimization methods applied to renewable and sustainable energy: a review. Renew Sustain Energy Rev 15(4):1753–1766

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Beccali M, Cellura M, Ardente D (1998) Decision making in energy planning: the ELECTRE multicriteria analysis approach compared to a FUZZY-SETS methodology. Energy Convers Manag 39(16–18):1869–1881

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Beccali M, Cellura M, Mistretta M (2003) Decision-making in energy planning. Application of the Electre method at regional level for the diffusion of renewable energy technology. Renew Energy 28(13):2063–2087

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Begic F, Afgan N (2007) Sustainability assessment tool for the decision making in selection of energy system—Bosnian case. Energy 32:1979–1985

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Behzadian M, Khanmohammadi Otaghsara S, Yazdani M, Ignatius J (2012) A state-of the-art survey of TOPSIS applications. Expert Syst Appl 39(17):13051–13069

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Belton V, Stewart T (2002) Multiple criteria decision analysis: an integrated approach. Kluwer Academic Publications, Boston

    Book  Google Scholar 

  13. Boran F, Boran K, Menlik T (2012) The evaluation of renewable energy technologies for electricity generation in turkey using intuitionistic fuzzy TOPSIS. Energy Sources Part B 7(1):81–90

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Buehring W, Foell W, Keeney R (1978) Examining energy/environment policy using decision analysis. Energy Policy 2(3):341–367

    Google Scholar 

  15. Carlsson C, Fuller R (1996) Fuzzy multiple criteria decision making: recent developments. Fuzzy Sets Syst 78:139–153

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Cavallaro F (2010a) A comparative assessment of thin-film photovoltaic production processes using the ELECTRE III method. Energy Policy 38(1):463–474

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Cavallaro F (2010b) Fuzzy TOPSIS approach for assessing thermal-energy storage in concentrated solar power (CSP) systems. Appl Energy 87(2):496–503

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Chang NB, Parvathinathan G, Breeden JB (2008) Combining GIS with fuzzy multicriteria decision-making for landfill siting in a fast-growing urban region. J Environ Manag 87(1):139–153

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Chen CT (2000) Extensions of the TOPSIS for group decision-making under fuzzy environment. Fuzzy Sets Syst 114(1):1–9

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Cherubini F, Strømman AH (2011) Life cycle assessment of bioenergy systems: state of the art and future challenges. Bioresour Technol 102(2):437–451

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Choo EU, Schoner B, Wedley WC (1999) Interpretation of criteria weights in multicriteria decision making. Comput Ind Eng 37(3):527–541

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Dai J, Qi J, Chi J, Chen S, Yang J (2010) Integrated water resource security evaluation of Beijing based on GRA and TOPSIS. Front Earth Sci China 4(3):357–362

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Doukas H, Andreas BM, Psarras JE (2007) Multi-criteria decision aid for the formulation of sustainable technological energy priorities using linguistic variables. Eur J Oper Res 182(2):844–855

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Doukas H, Karakosta C, Psarras J (2010) Computing with words to assess the sustainability of renewable energy options. Expert Syst Appl 37(7):5491–5497

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Doumpos M, Grigoroudis E (2013) Multicriteria decision aid and artificial intelligence: links, theory and applications. Wiley, Hoboken

    Book  Google Scholar 

  26. Dubois D, Prade H (1980) Fuzzy sets and systems: theory and applications. Academic press, New York

    Google Scholar 

  27. Evans TJ, Strezov V, Annette E (2009) Assessment of sustainability indicators for renewable energy technologies. Renew Sustain Energy Rev 13:1062–1088

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Forbus K (1984) Qualitative process theory. Artif Intell 24(1–3):85–168

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Georgopoulou E, Sarafidis Y, Diakoulaki D (1998) Design and implementation of a group DSS for sustaining renewable energies exploitation. Eur J Oper Res 109:483–500

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Goumas M, Lygerou V (2000) An extension of the PROMETHEE method for decision making in fuzzy environment: ranking of alternative energy exploitation projects. Eur J Oper Res 123(3):606–613

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Herrera F, Herrera-Viedma E, Martínez L (2008) A fuzzy linguistic methodology to deal with unbalanced linguistic term sets. IEEE Trans Fuzzy Syst 16(2):354–370

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Hwang C, Yoon K (1981) Multiple attribute decision making: methods and applications, a state of the art survey, vol 1. Springer, Berlin

    Book  Google Scholar 

  33. Hwang C, Yoon K (2005) Multiple attribute decision making. Quant Appl Soc Sci 7–104:53–62

    Google Scholar 

  34. Ishizaka A, Nemery P (2013) Multi-criteria decision analysis: methods and software. Wiley, Hoboken

    Book  Google Scholar 

  35. Jebaraj S, Iniyan S (2006) A review of energy models. Renew Sustain Energy Rev 10(4):281–311

    Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Jing YY, Bai H, Wang JJ (2012) A fuzzy multi-criteria decision making model for CCHP systems driven by different energy sources. Energy Policy 42:286–296

    Article  Google Scholar 

  37. Kablan M (2004) Decision support for energy conservation promotion. Energy Policy 32(10):1151–1158

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Kahraman C (2008) Fuzzy multi-criteria decision making: theory and applications with recent developments. Springer, New York

    Book  Google Scholar 

  39. Kahraman C, Cebi S, Kaya I (2010) Selection among renewable energy alternatives using fuzzy axiomatic design: the case of Turkey. J Univers Comput Sci 16(1):82–102

    Google Scholar 

  40. Kara SS, Onut S (2010) A stochastic optimization approach for paper recycling reverse logistics network design under uncertainty. Int J Environ Sci Technol 7(4):717–730

    Article  Google Scholar 

  41. Karimi AR, Mehrdadi N, Hashemian SJ, Nabi Bidhendi G, Tavakkoli Moghadam R (2011) Selection of wastewater treatment process based on the analytical hierarchy process and fuzzy analytical hierarchy process methods. Int J Environ Sci Technol 8(2):267–280

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Kaya I, Kahraman C (2011) Multicriteria decision making in energy planning using a modified fuzzy TOPSIS methodology. Expert Syst Appl 38(6):6577–6585

    Article  Google Scholar 

  43. Kowkabi L, Setayesh SR, Badri A, Rajaee A (2013) The application of fuzzy multi-attribute group decision making to prioritize the landscapes with high ecological value: Khoshk river in Shiraz. Int J Environ Res 7(2):423–434

    Google Scholar 

  44. Kuo RJ, Hsu CW, Chen YL (2015) Integration of fuzzy ANP and fuzzy TOPSIS for evaluating carbon performance of suppliers. Int J Environ Sci Technol. doi:10.1007/s13762-015-0819-9

    Google Scholar 

  45. Laarhoven V, Pedrycz W (1983) A fuzzy extension of Saaty’s priority theory. Fuzzy Sets Syst 11(1–3):199–227

    Google Scholar 

  46. Liu KFR (2007) Evaluating environmental sustainability: an integration of multiple-criteria decision-making and fuzzy logic. Environ Manag 39(5):721–736

    Article  Google Scholar 

  47. Loken E (2007) Use of multicriteria decision analysis methods for energy planning problems. Renew Sustain Energy Rev 11(7):1584–1595

    Article  Google Scholar 

  48. Meier PM, Hobbs BF (1994) Multicriteria methods for resource planning: an experimental comparison. IEEE Trans Power Syst 9(4):1811–1817

    Article  Google Scholar 

  49. Moghaddam NB, Nasiri M, Mousavi SM (2011) An appropriate multiple criteria decision making method for solving electricity planning problems, addressing sustainability issue. Int J Environ Sci Technol 8(3):605–620

    Article  Google Scholar 

  50. Mosadeghi R, Warnken J, Tomlinson R, Mirfenderesk H (2015) Comparison of fuzzy-AHP and AHP in a spatial multi-criteria decision making model for urban land-use planning. Comput Environ Urban Syst 49:54–65

    Article  Google Scholar 

  51. Nieto-Morote A, Ruz-Vila F, Cánovas-Rodríguez F (2010) Selection of a trigeneration system using a fuzzy AHP multi-criteria decision-making approach. Int J Energy Res 35:781–794

    Article  Google Scholar 

  52. Nigim K, Munier N, Green J (2004) Pre-feasibility MCDM tools to aid communities in prioritizing local viable renewable energy sources. Renew Energy 29(11):1775–1791

    Article  Google Scholar 

  53. Oberschmidt J, Geldermann J, Ludwig J, Schmehl M (2010) Modified PROMETHEE approach for assessing energy technologies. Int J Energy Sect Manag 4(2):183–212

    Article  Google Scholar 

  54. Opricovic S, Tzeng GH (2004) Compromise solution by MCDM methods: a comparative analysis of VIKOR and TOPSIS. Eur J Oper Res 156(2):445–455

    Article  Google Scholar 

  55. Pan J, Rahman S (1998) Multiattribute utility analysis with imprecise information: an enhanced decision support technique for the evaluation of electric generation expansion strategies. Electr Power Syst Res 46(2):101–109

    Article  Google Scholar 

  56. Parreiras RO, Ekel PY, Martini JSC, Palhares RM (2010) A flexible consensus scheme for multicriteria group decision making under linguistic assessments. Inf Sci 180(7):1075–1089

    Article  Google Scholar 

  57. Pohekar S, Ramachandran M (2004) Application of multi-criteria decision making to sustainable energy planning: a review. Renew Sustain Energy Rev 8(4):365–381

    Article  Google Scholar 

  58. Polatidis H, Haralambopoulos D, Munda G, Vreeker R (2006) Selecting an appropriate multi-criteria decision analysis technique for renewable energy planning. Energy Sources Part B 1(2):181–193

    Article  Google Scholar 

  59. Rovere E, Soares J, Oliveira L, Lauria T (2010) Sustainable expansion of electricity sector: sustainability indicators as an instrument to support decision making. Renew Sustain Energy Rev 14:422–429

    Article  Google Scholar 

  60. Russo R, Camanho R (2015) Criteria in AHP: a systematic review of literature. Procedia Comput Sci 55:1123–1132

    Article  Google Scholar 

  61. Saaty TL (1980) The analytic hierarchy process. McGraw-Hill, New York

    Google Scholar 

  62. Saaty TL (1990) Decision making by the analytic hierarchy process: theory and applications. Eur J Oper Res 48(1):9–26

    Article  Google Scholar 

  63. San Cristóbal J (2012) A goal programming model for the optimal mix and location of renewable energy plants in the north of Spain. Renew Sustain Energy Rev 16(7):4461–4464

    Article  Google Scholar 

  64. Stamford L, Azapagic A (2011) Sustainability indicators for the assessment of nuclear power. Energy 36:6037–6057

    Article  Google Scholar 

  65. Streimikiene D, Balezentis T, Krisciukaitien I, Balezentis A (2012) Prioritizing sustainable electricity production technologies: mCDM approach. Renew Sustain Energy Rev 16(5):3302–3311

    Article  Google Scholar 

  66. Topcu Y, Ulengin F (2004) Energy for the future: an integrated decision aid for the case of Turkey. Energy 29(1):137–154

    Article  Google Scholar 

  67. Travé-Massuyès L, Prats F, Sánchez M, Agell N (2005) Relative and absolute order-of-magnitude models unified. Ann Math Artif Intell 45(3–4):323–341

    Article  Google Scholar 

  68. Tsoutsos T, Drandaki M, Frantzeskaki N, Iosifidis E, Kiosses I (2009) Sustainable energy planning by using multi-criteria analysis application in the island of Crete. Energy Policy 37(5):1587–1600

    Article  Google Scholar 

  69. Tuzkaya G, Ozgen A, Ozgen D, Tuzkaya UR (2009) Environmental performance evaluation of suppliers: a hybrid fuzzy multi-criteria decision approach. Int J Environ Sci Technol 6(3):477–490

    Article  Google Scholar 

  70. Tzeng GH, Ta Shiau, Lin CY (1992) Application of multicriteria decision making to the evaluation of new energy system development in Taiwan. Energy 17(10):983–992

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  71. Varun S, Bhat IK, Prakash R (2009) LCA of renewable energy for electricity generation systems—a review. Renew Sustain Energy Rev 13:1067–1073

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  72. Wang JJ, Jing YY, Zhang CF, Shi GH, Zhang XT (2008) A fuzzy multi-criteria decision-making model for trigeneration system. Energy Policy 36(10):3823–3832

    Article  Google Scholar 

  73. Wang JJ, Jing YY, Zhang CF, Zhao JH (2009) Review on multi-criteria decision analysis aid in sustainable energy decision-making. Renew Sustain Energy Rev 13(9):2263–2278

    Article  Google Scholar 

  74. Yeh TM, Huang YL (2014) Factors in determining wind farm location: integrating GQM, fuzzy DEMATEL, and ANP. Renew Energy 66:159–169

    Article  Google Scholar 

  75. Yilmaz B, Dadeviren M (2011) A combined approach for equipment selection: F-PROMETHEE method and zeroone goal programming. Expert Syst Appl 38(9):11641–11650

    Article  Google Scholar 

  76. Zadeh L (1965) Fuzzy sets. Inf Control 8:338–353

    Article  Google Scholar 

  77. Zadeh L (1975) The concept of a linguistic variable and its application to approximate reasoning. Inf Sci 8(3):199–249

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

This research was partially supported by the SENSORIAL research Project (TIN2010-20966-C02-01 and TIN2010-20966-C02-02), funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Information Technology. Partial support was also provided by a doctoral fellowship awarded to one of the authors at the ESADE Business School, with additional support from Ramon Llull University.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to N. Agell.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Afsordegan, A., Sánchez, M., Agell, N. et al. Decision making under uncertainty using a qualitative TOPSIS method for selecting sustainable energy alternatives. Int. J. Environ. Sci. Technol. 13, 1419–1432 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13762-016-0982-7

Download citation

Keywords

  • Multi-criteria decision making
  • Linguistic labels
  • TOPSIS
  • Qualitative reasoning
  • Energy planning