Troullaki, A., 2018. Locally Manufactured Small Wind Turbines: Sustainability Assessment integrating Life Cycle Assessment and Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis. Technical University of Crete.

Locally Manufactured Small Wind Turbines (LMSWTs) are small-scale wind turbines that can be constructed by non-experts using simple tools and techniques, and whose designs are developed collaboratively by a global community of designers-users-manufacturers. In this study, LMSWTs have been assessed from a sustainability perspective, in comparison with a commercial small wind turbine, for off-grid applications in rural areas. The compared alternatives differ not only in terms of size and technology, but also in the “delivery model” under which they are employed, ranging from conventional to increased participation models, where users are empowered to maintain the systems themselves. The influence of the local context was taken into account through a parameter reflecting the dispersion of settlements in the studied area. Life Cycle Assessment was used to assess the environmental impacts and a life cycle approach was taken to estimate a variety of techno-economic, social and institutional sustainability indicators. The sustainability indicators were then used as criteria in Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis, using the PROMETHEE method to rank the alternatives from two stakeholder viewpoints: investors and policy makers. For both viewpoints, it was found that local manufacture combined with participative delivery models was ranked first, unless the Institutional burden became the most significant criterion for the policymaker. In this respect, we observed significant impact of different preferences translated to different sets of weights. Thus, expert elicitation is needed to define the weight of this criterion for policymakers, as well as to quantify the performance of the alternatives in it, taking into account existing conditions in each local context.

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