Author: Mehmood, Aamir
Title: Achieving sustainable development goals in Pakistan : focusing on energy sustainability in multi-sectoral approach
Advisors: Ren, J. Z. (ISE)
Lee, K. M. C. (ISE)
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2023
Subject: Renewable energy sources -- Pakistan
Sustainable development -- Pakistan
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering
Pages: xxiv, 295 pages : color illustrations
Language: English
Abstract: The United Nations, cognizant of the imperative to balance the present needs with future prosperity, established the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a global agenda. These goals, interdependent and multifaceted, hinge on the provision of sustainable, abundant, and affordable resources encompassing water, energy, and food, all crucial for human well-being. Despite prolonged efforts to strategize the attainment of SDGs, a significant global populace still grapples with inadequate access to modern energy, potable water, and sufficient food supply, forming a nexus of critical issues intricately entwined with climate change. Among these, energy stands as a linchpin, poised to eclipse all other sectors in global demand by 2050. Acknowledging the urgency in rectifying the prevailing issues that impede sustainable solutions, this study is specifically tailored to scrutinize energy sustainability in the context of SDGs attainment within Pakistan. The investigation identified pivotal subjects from a comprehensive literature survey warranting rigorous examination. These encompass confronting barriers to energy sustainability, formulating a comprehensive framework for the evaluation of energy projects, designing optimal hybrid energy infrastructures to underpin sustainability, and assessing and optimizing performance indicators across various energy system strategies catering to the essentials of residential life.
Primarily, this work addresses the barriers to energy sustainability through an innovative approach that amalgamates energy literacy dimensions. While prior attempts at barriers identification have yielded theoretical suggestions, the oversight of fundamental societal elements might elucidate the shortfall in meeting energy sustainability targets. A novel interlinkage framework is proposed, interconnecting energy literacy (outcomes-based education theory) with energy sustainability perspectives, encompassing cognitive, conative, and affective dimensions of human personality to surmount barriers effectively. The barriers to energy sustainability in Pakistan are categorized into political, economic, social, technical, environmental, and legal aspects. Expert-led focus group meetings are conducted to map barriers to dimensions and sub-dimensions of energy literacy, revealing the affective dimensions’ paramount importance in addressing most barriers. This framework underscores the pivotal role of energy literacy in steering towards a sustainable future.
Subsequently, a comprehensive influential factors framework is developed, encompassing macro and micro factors for the holistic evaluation of energy projects. Existing frameworks, such as PEST and PESTEL, predominantly focus on macro factors, inadvertently neglecting critical internal micro factors. Therefore, an integrated framework is introduced to facilitate comprehensive projects evaluation from all aspects. This hierarchical decision-making framework, constructed through a multiple case-study approach, establishes the presence of influential factors, encompassing both macro- and micro-environments, through rigorous testing and validation. Sustainability aspects and factors are prioritized based on optimal weights computed using a Best-Worst method, and micro aspects are found to be more critical than macro aspects. Based on the calculated significance of the influential factors, the problem and objective trees are established employing the SWOT analysis tool, encompassing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to the energy infrastructure of Pakistan. The constructed framework provides an invaluable tool for evaluating future projects aimed at achieving energy sustainability.
Building upon the influential factors framework, energy alternatives are systematically ranked and assessed, addressing a notable gap in the existing literature. An integrated decision-support tool (IDST) and a multi-level hierarchical structure are developed for this purpose, enabling the evaluation the energy alternatives using both qualitative and quantitative data. The hierarchical structure comprises decision attributes grouped into sustainability aspects to assess energy alternatives, including hydro, solar, wind, nuclear, biomass, gas, and coal. The importance of attributes is calculated by using the optimal weighting approach, and the ranking of alternatives is determined and validated using one-dimensional and dimensional reduction of assessment data approaches. The performance of alternatives is assessed using the probabilistic evidential reasoning algorithm, and the acceptability of alternatives is classified. Hydro is found to be the most favourable energy alternative for achieving sustainability, followed by solar and wind. The novel features of this framework contribute to designing sustainable hybrid energy infrastructures and formulating policies aligning with the sustainability targets of SDG 7.
Further, a comprehensive pe-feasibility assessment framework for renewables integrated energy systems is proposed. This framework incorporates scenarios designing based on a decision-tree structure, a procedure for optimal energy demand estimation, exploring correlations between design parameters, investigating influential design parameters, and evaluating the impact and competitiveness of energy scenarios. This framework is employed to examine the sustainability of integrating solar photovoltaic (PV) renewable into residential buildings. For this purpose, various energy system strategies are modelled using a decision tree structure, and design parameters are optimized to assess the sustainability and meet the electrification needs of multiple sectors, including water, energy, and food sectors, in residential buildings. Synergies and trade-offs between design parameters are quantified, influential design parameters for solar PV integration are identified using the information gain ratio method, and the impact of solar PV systems on energy sustainability is evaluated based on optimized design parameters and energy-economic-environmental decision indicators. Combining solar PV systems with grid power is found to have a greater impact, while combining with battery energy storage is more competitive. The study provides valuable insights for decision-making organizations to promote renewable solar integration in residential areas, contributing to energy sustainability.
Finally, the study delves into the development of optimal decision-making approaches for designing hybrid energy systems (HES) in residential buildings. For this, a multi-stage optimization-based decision-making framework is developed, incorporating three key features of modelling, quantifying, and optimizing the performance characteristics of HES. First, a holistic system-thinking approach is adopted to design and model the HES scenarios that can address the electrification requirements of water, energy, and food in residential buildings. A preliminary evaluation of the scenarios is then conducted, followed by establishing a combination of the NSGA-II algorithm and multi-objective modelling setup to optimize the performance indicators of HES. Lastly, a multi-criteria decision-making approach is employed for post-Pareto analysis, facilitating the selection and classification of optimal solutions to improve the utilization of optimization outputs. The results highlighted the Quetta and Karachi regions in Pakistan as the optimal solutions for achieving energy sustainability through solar PV renewables’ integrated HES in the residential areas. The developed framework proved to be useful in facilitating the optimal design of HES and can assist intergovernmental organizations in formulating effective policies to encourage residents to invest in HES installation. In a nutshell, this research work provides valuable insights for fostering sustainable energy practices and contributes to the broader goal of achieving energy sustainability.
Rights: All rights reserved
Access: open access

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