Minigrids. They’re one of the most attractive models for remote community electrification. They’re scalable, and flexible, and capable of supplying power at levels that really permit productive use to be made of the power. But at the same time, they raise alot of questions – what is the most appropriate structure, size, payment system etc for a particular local community. Getting these things wrong has led to systems failing, or not having the development impact they were intended to have.
To try to address some of these issues, Energy Action Partners have devised their Minigrid Game. This is a collaborative role-playing game built around a representation of a minigrid system, intended to be used as an educational and collaborative planning tool in designing a community-sized minigrid system. The game is designed to be used within a process that explores minigrid planning and operational decisions.
The Minigrid Game is a completely novel way for communities to develop workable solutions to the unique challenges of managing a community minigrid, such as system sizing, tariff-setting, and demand-side management. By playing as a group, the players can also improve their understanding of energy technology, practice negotiation and consensus-building skills, and most importantly, have fun.
Participants joined us on Tuesday 15th May 2018 to hear more about the game and its applications from Scott Kennedy, Executive Director and Ayu Abdullah, Southeast Asia Director of Enact Partners, and also for an opportunity to play the game live during the webinar! The game is designed to run in a controlled environment (in a village community centre, for example) so we saw some of the challenges that playing the game over the internet brings, on connections that were not 100% reliable. But participants were still able to get a real sense of the power and flexibility of this simulation for optimising system design, and making users aware of the consequences of their individual energy usage and payment behaviours.