The workshop “ElectriCITY: The Energy Preferences Game”, moderated by our Research Assistant Ayça ÇELİKBİLEK and geological engineer Gökhan SAPMAZ, was the guest of Kadıköy Municipality Environment Festival. In the workshops held in the workshop area of the festival on June 04, participants were informed about clean energy and a role game which they produced strategies as decision makers in the city’s energy production was played.
The Environment Festival, organized by Kadıköy Municipality every year as part of the World Environment Day events, was held this year with the theme of “Ecological Life in the City”. Res.Asst. Ayça ÇELİKBİLEK participated in the festival, which aims to create solutions individually or as a community by approaching all environmental problems in our country and the world, especially climate change, from different perspectives, and to present examples of ecological life.
On the second day of the festival, ÇELİKBİLEK and SAPMAZ gave information to the participants about clean energy production, renewable energy sources and environmental costs of energy choices during the day in the workshop area. In addition, they moderate the “ElectriCITY: Energy Preferences Game”, a role-play game based on the production of renewable and clean energy strategies to meet the city’s energy needs, twice during the day of the festival.
ÇELİKBİLEK and SAPMAZ primarily gave general information about the energy system used in cities and energy management. In this context, the participants were informed about primary energy sources such as fossil fuels, renewable energy sources and other energy sources. Afterwards, technologies and facilities that convert these primary energy sources into usable energy were mentioned and it was stated which primary energy sources these facilities use to generate electricity and which end-use sectors such as trade, industry, transportation and residential can use this electricity. After all this information, the energy produced from which energy sources is used in which sector, the amount of potential energy that each energy source can produce and the amount of lost energy (energy efficiency) were discussed with the participants via the Sankey diagram. Finally, in order to understand why energy policies are important for the environment, information was given to the participants about air pollutants, greenhouse gases and water consumption resulting from source selection in energy production. Thus, the participants were made to understand the importance of energy management in the global climate crisis.
In the second part of the workshop, the game, which is a simple simulation of the energy system in cities, was introduced to the participants and the rules of the game were explained. The game started by dividing the participants into five groups, each representing a city with different resources. The game, which was designed as a simulation of real life, was played as 5 different stages, in which carbon costs gradually increased, carbon emissions were kept at a certain limit, water consumption was kept at a certain limit, and different political and economic conditions were developed for each group. At each stage, it was discussed how the changes in political, economic and environmental conditions reflected on the energy policies produced by the groups and how these policies were reflected on the environmental costs in addition to the construction and operating costs.
The workshops ended with the announcement of the first three groups that provided the lowest cost (installation+operation+environmental) at the end of the 5 stages, and Kadıköy Municipality presented gifts to the participants.
ÇELİKBİLEK stated that role plays are one of the interactive methods used for community empowerment in many different fields such as education, practice, policy and strategy production. She said that, for this reason the festival and workshop had positive impacts in terms of explaining to the citizens that the decisions taken by the city and country administration have effects not only in the terms of their duty areas of the relevant administrators, but also in much longer terms and in much wider areas. She stated that while the game provides the acquisition of basic information about the subject, it also allows different groups to learn from each other and allows the actors to understand the perspective of different groups. She also drew attention to the fact that the information received by the participants during the game and the active attitude they displayed paved the way for an active participation in clean energy and sustainable cities and reducing the footprints of individuals after the game.
About the Game: ElectriCITY is a simple simulation game that focuses on the costs of generating electricity for cities. The game serves as a dynamic platform to encourage participants to think about the costs of this choice, as they decide what type of energy to produce in the city. The main goal of the game is to gain the ability to evaluate environmental costs, including how different electricity mixes can affect carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and water use, in addition to investment and operating costs in energy production. The game also has the potential to explore different energy contexts specific to geographic regions as well as socio-political issues. Thus, it creates an opportunity to discuss the geographical inequalities in energy production and indirectly in industrial production. The aim of the game is not to tell the “right answer” in energy production, but to provide an understanding of the challenges and, more importantly, the tradeoffs in making energy and policy decisions.