WIT Press

Technology Sustainability Assessment To Support Decision Making On Energy Production At Local Scale


Free (open access)

Paper DOI



Volume 6 (2011), Issue 3



Page Range

251 - 267




Considering climate issues, the Kyoto Protocol is the most important worldwide reference aimed at reducing greenhouse gases that cause climate change; going further, the recent European Climate and Energy Policy defines binding targets for 2020, that include increasing use of renewable energy (wind, solar, biomass, etc.) to 20% of total energy production. In order to identify the most suitable strategies to achieve this objective, an evaluation of some relevant issues that can affect the sustainability of possible renewable energy options is necessary. This study focus on technology sustainability assessment of energy production from forest biomass, defi ning a set of indicators to provide a decision support system (DSS) for local decision makers, enabling them to evaluate the environmental impacts, the resource availability and renewability, the feasibility of the technology in the local context and the social acceptance of the plant among the local community. The case study presented in this article refers to an Italian mountain community (Comunità Montana delle Alpi Lepon-tine) in northern Italy, where the assessment of environmental, economic and social sustainability of a plant producing electricity powered by Syngas coming from gasifi cation of forest biomass was performed. The aim of the research was to develop a multidisciplinary DSS to assess the feasibility of the application and to defi ne guidelines for sustainability assessment of technologies for energy production using forest biomass, identifying critical issues and potential areas of optimization.


biomass, energy planning, energy technology assessment, gasification, renewable energy