How do you make a village or city energy-neutral? And how do you ensure that production, profit, people and planet are in proportion? A matter of smart negotiation. The team that provides the community with sufficient energy while keeping all different interests in balance wins.
Played more than 300 times
When Frank Pierie was doing his PhD research, in which he wanted to show just how complex it is to make the electricity supply of a district or village CO2-neutral, he decided to develop a board game. It was a big success. The We-Energy Game has now been played more than 300 times, mainly by city councils, but also by provincial authorities, companies and schools.
A serious game
‘The main aim of our serious game is to make people aware of just how complex the task at hand actually is’, says Mathieu Przybyla, coordinator of the We-Energy Game. Although wind turbines generate a great deal of energy, not everyone wants one in their immediate vicinity. Solar panels generate a lot of clean energy on a clear summer’s day, sometimes even amounts that the electricity grid is unable to cope with. At other times, the panels fail to generate any energy at all. To ensure that a source of power is reliable, you can opt to store the energy generated, but this is expensive. The five players of the game have to work together to make sure that enough power is generated through sustainable means, that supply and demand are in balance in the electricity grid, that local residents are happy and that the economics of the situation are as they should be.
From A to Sustainable
‘Because municipalities often work together in practice, we are now presenting our game at a regional level too. This version has proved to be a great success as well’, says Przybyla. And it will not end there. Pierie: ‘The game revolves primarily around considerations and discussions, with the ultimate aim of creating awareness. The next step will be to calculate the specifics of the various scenarios. We are now developing the We-Energy Tool – which will include cards and concrete figures – to make this possible. For example, how much power a solar panel generates, at which times of the day and how a household’s energy demand changes. Unlike the game, we include heat supply and transport in the Tool too.’
The We-Energy Game and Tool will constantly be updated to include the very latest knowledge. For example, the insights gained from SolarMiles, research on the charging behaviour of the drivers of electric cars on Ameland. Or research on the impact of the large-scale introduction of heat pumps on the electricity grid. Use of the game and tool generates input for research too (on the effect of serious games, for example). Pierie: ‘The game was a starting point for our new “From A to Sustainable” research theme. Our aim is to create knowledge that is relevant straight away, which we then share in such a way that we are able to optimally facilitate implementation of the energy transition by municipalities and provinces.’
Curious about the We-Energy Game? You can play an online version.
Play the board game
The We Energy Game has been received enthusiastically. It has been played more than 300 times and has proven itself as a fun and useful instrument to give groups (members of energy cooperatives, government employees, students) insight into the (im)possibilities to actually realize goals regarding the energy transition.
Do you want to order the board game yourself to play at home, at your school or at work? Or do you want to play it under supervision? You can! Contact project manager Mathieu Przybyla: E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or call: +31 (0)50 595 5476 or +31 (0)6 2363 7686