Strengthening decision-making in the heat transition. A study on how to include non-techno-economic criteria into the decision-making process for the heat transition in the Netherlands.
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This research focused on the heat transition in the Netherlands. To reach the climate goals of the Paris agreement, the Dutch society has to make a transition from heating with natural gas, towards heating with sustainable heating sources. Sustainable heating sources are for example geothermal heat, waste heat or hydrothermal heat. Different strategies are possible to make this transition. For example district heating networks with renewable heating sources, or all electric strategies with electric heat pumps. To assess which strategy is the most suitable for a specific location, different criteria are relevant. The technical and economic criteria are very important in this assessment, and they are being thoroughly researched for every strategy and location. However, the environmental and social aspects of this transition are currently considered less frequently. Even though these criteria are very important, especially considering there are many different stakeholders in this transition, with all very different values and interests. This research has therefore focused on creating a tool which includes all these criteria, and takes the different interests from the stakeholders into consideration. This was done through a multi-criteria analysis, a method with lends itself very well for this type of tool. Using an interval standardization method, the different criteria can be assessed and compared, while different weighing factors facilitate the incorporation of the different views from stakeholders. The tool was assessed using a sensitivity analysis, and through two municipalities who tested the tool. In addition, the interval standardization method was compared with another, more complicated, MCA method, the PROMETHEE method, to assess if a more complicated method leads to different results. It was found that the added value of the PROMETHEE method is limited for this type of tool, since the difference was small, and simplicity makes the tool more transparent. This is an important feature for municipalities, the target audience of the tool.