Decarbonize: The Game

A project by @lachlanjc, December 2022

Over the next few decades, the U.S. needs to produce dramatically more electricity to power technologies replacing fossil fuel use, such as electric cars and heat pumps. At the same time, we need to keep energy prices & the electric grid stable, all while reducing the carbon emissions of our current electricity.

This is a game where you’re in control of the electricity grid, from 2000–2050. There’s 4 types of energy sources you can add to the grid: solar, wind, natural gas, and coal. As you build out the grid with each source, you’ll watch carbon emissions and energy prices be calculated in real time.

The coal is real anthracite coal from Eastern PA, the solar panels are laser-cut from thick blue acrylic, and the gas and wind pieces are laser-cut cardboard. Each has a barcode on the back, which the iPad scans.

The game software is a Next.js app using Zustand, Tailwind CSS, Recharts, and quagga2.

Video by Matthew Stanciu

Playing without the pieces

You can open the game yourself; use keyboard shortcuts instead of the camera scanning to purchase additional energy sources:
a (solar), s (wind), d (coal), f (gas).

Open game