ElCity+ is a map-based board game that was created by NTNU to illustrate energy exchanges that will take place in Trondheim and nearby areas. In these areas, there will be several buildings with energy demands. The players are able to connect to these buildings and sell energy to them, but in order to sell energy to them, they will have to invest first in renewable energy sources (RES), for example solar and wind energy, and also in energy storage and refurbishment.
The more buildings the players will connect to, the higher the energy demand they will have to satisfy, and the more renewable energy sources they need to invest in. The player that connects the most buildings creates the biggest district and can supply these buildings with their own RES. The player who ends up with the biggest positive energy district ( a district with more energy production than its own energy demand) is declared the winner. A Positive Energy Block (PEB) is a block that produces its own local energy that surpasses its needs. Several Positive Energy Blocks form a Positive Energy District. To become the owner of a positive energy block, a player needs to invest strategically in different energy technologies such as production, storage, and refurbishment. While creating a PEB, connecting to buildings, and investing in energy production, the players will be confronted with situations where they either don’t have enough or they have too much energy production and need to buy or sell energy. In such situations, the players have to negotiate on the energy market with the other players and the Distribution System Operator (DSO), who can be either a natural or a legal person responsible for operating, ensuring the maintenance of and developing the distribution system in a given area. The players can trade with the DSO or with other players (in this case, peer-to-peer trading) to supply a particular district.
The game is challenging the players to acquire the necessary technical and business skills to transform Trondheim into a big positive energy city while accumulating positive energy blocks and creating positive energy districts. A number of 9 participants were involved in a face-to-face gameplay session and provided their own comments and suggestions for improvement. The session took place on 21 July 2020.