The Selection of Performance Benchmarks

Once the research questions are set, the next step is to define the criteria based on which the performance of MIs is analyzed. In other words, a decision is needed on which benchmarks are used to assess whether particular projects or programmes have been successes or failures. The selection of variables is not to be taken lightly, since it has implications on the feasibility of the research as well as the validity of the outcomes.

The performance of MIs can be measured in terms of multiple criteria. Unless there is plenty of data and time, the objective, however, should not be to work with long lists of criteria for determining success or failure. It is important to reduce the number of criteria to those that are essential—the core criteria in a particular field of study. In the sustainable energy area, for example, it is possible to reduce a large number of criteria to one critical benchmark, namely, the extent to which MIs have contributed to the commercialization ofclean energy technologies. As argued in Chapter 8 (this volume), commercialization is probably the single most important determinant of whether the activities of MIs in clean energy have been worthwhile or not.

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Renewable Energy 101

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable energy is energy that is generated from sunlight, rain, tides, geothermal heat and wind. These sources are naturally and constantly replenished, which is why they are deemed as renewable. The usage of renewable energy sources is very important when considering the sustainability of the existing energy usage of the world. While there is currently an abundance of non-renewable energy sources, such as nuclear fuels, these energy sources are depleting. In addition to being a non-renewable supply, the non-renewable energy sources release emissions into the air, which has an adverse effect on the environment.

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