Bridging the valley of death: A multi-staged multi-criteria decision support system for evaluating proposals for large-scale energy demonstration projects as public funding opportunities
There is an increasing pressure that enhanced and novel energy technologies are swiftly adopted by the market to ensure meeting the energy and climate targets. An important issue with such novel developments is their risk to be stuck in the 'valley of death', i.e. that their transition to the market is delayed or unsuccessful. Publicly supported demonstration projects could help to bridge the valley of death by reducing barriers to the adoption caused by missing information and perceived risks. A challenge for technology demonstrations in the industrial context is their often high investments that are required to prove their real-world benefits. Given the magnitude of such investments, it becomes crucial that public funding focuses on the most promising demonstration proposals. Structured evaluation processes can help to facilitate the identification of promising proposals and to improve the quality and transparency of decisions. This paper deals with a corresponding multi-staged multi-criteria decision support system (DSS) suggested to the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. It deals with the evaluation of demonstration proposals across three stages: The first stage represents a filtering stage to identify those proposals relevant for further considerations. The second stage comprises a multi-criteria scoring method drawing on an evaluation against nineteen criteria. The final third stage serves to critically review the need for public funding of well-scored proposals. This contribution outlines the development of the DSS and its design and thus provides insights on proposal evaluating in energy research.