Participatory Value Evaluation of energy policies
This research further develops Participatory Value Evaluation (PVE): a new assessment model for sustainable energy policies. The project investigates the extent to which PVE: 1) allows for the inclusion of citizens’ ethical considerations in quantitative real-world economic policy assessment; 2) contributes to citizens’ acceptance of decisions on sustainable energy policies. The research combines insights from economics, philosophy, political science, environmental sciences, and natural sciences.
Worldwide, governments and firms invest in sustainable energy policies to decarbonise energy systems, for example in collective heating networks, energy saving measures, and wind farms on land and offshore. These investments are often made on the basis of Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA). CBA tries to measure the societal efficiency of a certain policy by quantifying the financial and non-financial impact of a project and expressing this in monetary terms.
However, classical CBAs have difficulty incorporating citizens’ ethical considerations concerning the procedural and distributive aspects of such decisions, considerations that clearly affect the social acceptance of decisions on sustainable energy policies. This is problematic because lack of local social acceptance increases the risks of project delays, cost escalation and project cancellation.
A new method that tries to solve these issues of CBA is “Participatory Value Evaluation” (PVE). This approach has the potential to include citizens’ ethical considerations in real-world economic policy analysis. In a PVE, citizens choose a portfolio of policies given one or more constraints (budget or sustainability target). Using these individual choices behavioural choice models are estimated that subsequently form the basis for an economic evaluation of different policies, and this makes it possible to determine the best portfolio of projects.
This project first of all aims to contribute to the construction and use of ethically sensitive policy evaluation through the further development of PVEs. First, the project investigates the extent to which PVE allows for the inclusion of citizens’ ethical considerations through conducting PVEs in which morally salient features of sustainable energy policies are explicitly included. The project then develops novel behavioural discrete choice models that measure the extent to which citizens are willing to forego personal benefits to foster ethical considerations. The resulting ethically informed utility functions are used for the economic assessment of sustainable energy policies.
The second aim of the project is to explore whether different applications of PVE can foster procedural justice by including the possibility of deliberation and co-design and study how these PVE applications impact citizens’ social acceptance of sustainable energy policies.Official project title: