It’s not easy to fully grasp how great the energy challenge is, what the spatial effects of the transition will be, and what role each of us will have to play in making the change. To increase awareness, we often play the Energy and Space game, which helps people to understand the scenario. We play the game with provincial councils and city governments, and also with students at vocational schools. After all, they’re the professionals of the future who will make the energy transition a reality. They’re the ones who’ll install the heat pumps, solar panels, solar water heaters and so on.
Chips on a map
The Energy and Space game consists of a big map of the planning area and three types of chip that respectively represent solar panels, small windmills and large windmills. An advance calculation is made of how much electricity needs to be generated – assuming energy-saving measures are taken – and thus how many chips need to be placed on the map. The calculation assumes that every roof in urban areas is equipped with solar panels; what’s left is the rural areas. The map identifies protected areas and places where certain restrictions are in effect.
The participants discuss where the various chips should go. Together, they investigate possibilities and consider trade-offs. For example, opting for large windmills means they have to find places for fewer chips, but the spatial impact of each is much greater. The game creates an awareness that will be crucial for making a successful energy transition.
At the VanGasLos festival in December 2017, technology students from the mboRijnland vocational school played the Energy and Space game. They looked at the electricity requirements for the Holland Rijnland region. As they played, they learned about the challenge of meeting energy needs as well as the role they might play themselves. Students from the media technology course made a video about the day – watch it here!