A multicriteria decision support system has been developed to evaluate alternatives for sustainable and integrated energy centres for rural development in the Mediterranean area. The search for the most suitable solution for a fixed site is a complex problem, due to the variety of the plausible alternatives, the changing points of view and the diversity of the different interest groups that are responsible for the choice. By using a participative approach, combining optimisation and multicriteria methods and structuring the decision process, the different positions are clearly expressed and their consequences on the proposed solutions are brought to the fore. The negotiation is made easier and can focus on the essential aspects of the problem that have been identified by the decision support system.