Youth leaders from across the world played the role of community energy managers in Calgary last month when Community Power debuted the new game, Power Play, as part of the SevenGen Indigenous Student Energy Summit.
The summit, supported by the global organization Student Energy, was the first of its kind, led by Indigenous youth for Indigenous youth who want to build the next generation of community energy leaders.
The Power Play board-game was developed specifically for the summit workshop and provided participants with an opportunity to play at developing project plans to achieve their team’s community energy goals. Teams worked together to select, fund and build energy solutions for their hypothetical community in order to meet goals such as reducing energy demand, achieving energy self-sufficiency or generating revenue from energy projects.
There was a buzz in the room as players rolled to the dice to see if their community successfully secured government funding, and debated over the benefits of each project option. The group gave us positive feedback and ideas on how to improve the game during the workshop wrap-up.
Power players cheer as their community wins government funding after the roll of the dice
“The game makes you realize you have to look at the long-term. We had pretty incredible discussions on why we use different energy sources based on our values.”
Jordan, 27, Treaty 10 Territory in Île-à-la-Crosse, Northern Saskatchewan posing with her Student Energy card
“I thought it was innovative how you roll the dice for funding. It’s a gamble, like real life. And I like how we learned to come to a consensus as a community.”
Cheyenne, 26, from Treaty 6 Territory in Saddle Lake, Alberta
Community Power’s Janna Janzen, who developed the game, said it’s based on the energy management work we do with Indigenous partners. “We collaborate with communities to design, fund and implement projects that will support their community-specific energy goals. The game is designed to get players thinking strategically about the decision-making behind community energy project investments and the impacts their decisions have on energy demand and supply.”
In addition to planning and funding projects, teams had to adapt to unexpected events resembling those that energy planners may have to deal with. Each round, teams revealed an “Event” card that introduced new factors into the energy planning equation, such as wildfire smoke influencing solar outputs, market price changes, community stakeholder objections or new funding.
Community Power’s Janna Janzen answers questions from game players during the workshop
Power Players choose their projects and track their cash during the game
There are plans for Community Power to facilitate Power Play again in the near future at energy conferences and youth summits. If you would like to know more about the game or think it’s a good fit for your event, please contact [email protected].