California recently took the 2,000 megawatt San Onofre Nuclear plant permanently offline. It could be a hot summer, and by now, most people know that solving a region's power problems is more complicated than just throwing up more wind farms. As the grid evolves, coming up with stable power systems will become increasingly complex.
Offering real-world insight without actual nail-biting brown outs, Siemens Energy has developed Power Matrix, a free online game that challenges players to design a sustainable energy system for a city. Using simulation, the game creates an understanding of the energy market while providing insights into the interaction between power grids and different types of energy.
Informing the public through gaming
Intended for the general public, each player's task is to contribute to the growth of a city by creating an intelligent energy mix and stable power supply. Possible energy sources include both conventional energy and renewables. The better the energy mix, the faster your city grows. Players also collect bonus points by investing in R&D, while keeping an eye on the budget. Watch a short trailer for the game:
The online game was developed with experts from the fields of corporate strategy and engineering, and provides technologies, products and solutions in the field of energy economics. Go to the game.
"When we built the game, we were keen to create a scenario that was as realistic as possible. This allows players to experience the immediate influence of changes in weather conditions on the performance of renewables, for example," says Thorsten Uhlendorff, head of online communication, who is responsible for the Power Matrix Game project at Siemens Energy.
After you finish successfully setting up your city's grid, you'll be ready to kibitz in the ongoing California train wreck, directly emailing Governor Jerry brown with suggestions.