Methodology of the Master Plan

All work on the Master Plan focuses on one goal - to classify power plant options into energy utilisation -, on hold -, or protection categories. The methodology of the Master Plan is to some degree under continuous development and is adapted to the tasks at any particular time. Here we will use the method of work used by expert committee 1 in phase 2 as an example.

From the outset both the expert committees and the steering committees under the Master Plan have tried to use a transparent methodology in their work in order to ensure in the best possible manner a credible and well-founded conclusion so that the assessment process may be studied later and the results retraced. Therefore it was necessary to develop the methodology and presumptions for the assessment right at the outset - i.e. to design common metrics to be used - before the individual power plant options were taken up for deliberation. That way it was ensured that the different power plant options were assessed in the same manner.

Methods used by the expert committees

The expert committees demarcate the area of impact for the planned power plant construction work and evaluate the value of numerous factors within the area by use of a rating system based on the condition of the area pre-power plant. This work deals with what is referred to as subjects, e.g. organisms and geosites, and sub-subjects, e.g. fish and birds. Expert committee 1 in phase 2 dealt with five subjects. The ratings for the sub-subjects were merged into one rating for each subject and then the ratings for all subjects were merged into one overall rating for the value of the area in question. The impact that the construction project would have on these subjects was also rated in a similar way.

Expert committees number 1 and 2 in phases number 1 and 2 of the Master Plan applied what is referred to as Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) for the purpose of arranging the power plant options in rank order according to value.

The methods used by the steering committee

Naturally the arranging of the power plant options in rank order will not be the same in all expert committees since the expert committees assess different subjects. The role of the steering committee is to integrate the data from the expert committees when they have completed their work and then to combine the rank orders for the power plant options in one final rank order. In phase 2 the steering committee used the ranking by expert committees 1 and 2 as a basis for their own rank order, but used the findings of expert committees 3 and 4 as additional information.

Continuous development

The Master Plan involves to a certain extent innovation and when the work on the plan began there was no fully formulated methodology available that would suit Icelandic conditions. The methodology has therefore gone through continuous development and will probably continue to undergo some adjustments, although most of these will probably be minor. For example, expert committees 3 and 4 in the third phase of the Master Plan both have to design their own methodologies since these expert committees in the 2nd phase didn't succeed in designing methodologies that gave useful results.