Energy generation with fossil fuels produces emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and releases toxic chemicals into the environment. Greenhouse gases produce global warming which can cause climate change and costly human displacements. Toxic chemicals released into the environment produce health problems and damage the ecosystems. With fossil fuels providing today over 85% of energy needs and the Earth’s population projected to increase by several billion people and energy needs projected to double by the middle of this century, considerable pressure exists to develop sustainable energy supply services. This poses an enormous challenge to engineers, economists, and policy makers. The energy mix required to produce energy for humanity depends on the availability of energy resources, security of energy supply, climate change requirements, technological breakthroughs, financial conditions, and public acceptance. Population, standard of living, toxic and greenhouse gas emissions, thermodynamic limits imposed on biophysical processes, and economics and ethics of resource utilization produce some key sustainability indicators or attributes that need to be employed for guiding our path toward a sustainable energy future. Following a general discussion of indicators and frameworks of indicators, a small number of energy supply values or objectives are presented for the purpose of developing attributes that can measure the degree of accomplishment of these objectives. A systems approach is then employed to define indicators for generic energy supply services and a risk-based multi-criteria decision making procedure is presented for deciding which energy supply service option is most sustainable. The methodology can be applied locally, regionally, and globally, by both the energy services providers and energy policy makers.

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