The Energy Game

The Energy Game

Deciding about energy and environment: a game for thinking

Until now: EXPO 2015 Milan (Italy), Lugano and Lausanne (Switzerland) several times between 2017 and 2021, EXPO 2017 Astana (Kazakhstan) | 11 July 2015 – ongoing

The Energy Game is a guided interactive game open to all kinds of participants. Aim of the game is thinking at: 1) the impact of electricity production in terms of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, 2) the trade-offs in any decision on how to produce electricity, 3) how a better knowledge of an issue influences our preferences. First step: each participant receives a paper glass full of pebbles, and finds a wooden box with six holes on the top; each hole represent one primary energy source that can be used to produce electricity (e.g. coal, natural gas, nuclear, hydro, sun, wind). The Game instructor asks each participant to share their pebbles in the holes according to how they would like to produce electricity in their own country, assuming there are no particular constraints. When all participants have poured their pebbles in the holes, the group turns around the box and sees the result of their collective decision. The back side of the wooden box is indeed open and shows six transparent jars corresponding to each hole. Second step: the Game instructor measures then the height of the pebbles in each jar, and computes the GHG emissions and levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) associated to the chosen generation mix using the latest IPCC and IEA data. The resulting emissions and cost are compared in a poster to those associated to the energy mixes adopted in other relevant countries. Another poster shows the GHG emissions and LCOE of each primary energy source. Depending on the available time, the instructor discusses with the participants the advantages and problems of each primary energy source, and how technological progress may change the picture. Third step: the participants receive a new glass of pebbles and are asked to vote again in a new wooden box. When the group has voted, the instructor computes the GHG emissions and LCOE of the new mix, and discusses with the group how their decisions have changed after receiving new information.

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Editor’s Note: All information published as submitted by the author(s). Minor edits may have been made to increase readability and understanding.