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The new online game Energo Play aims to introduce people to the workings of a large energy company and the principles of energy. Its authors, students Stanislav Sadílek, Ondřej Dolejš and Jakub Pelc, won last year's Energy Olympics with the idea for this educational game. Now, in cooperation with experts from Energy Literacy and ČEPS, they have managed to complete the project. According to the authors, who are currently studying at FEL and FJFI of CTU, the game should contribute to increasing energy literacy among high school students and the general public. The Energy Olympics is held under the auspices of Faculty of Electrical Engineering.

Last year, three classmates from the Benešov secodnary grammar school decided that the form of the game could attract people of different ages and professions. "We wanted to show in an engaging and entertaining way that energy is a complex topic and that it is very much about trade-offs," said Stanislav Sadílek, co-author of the project. After last year's victory, the students then set about preparing. They discussed the technical questions and background materials with experts from ČEPS and Technologická gramotnost (Energy literacy). They worked on the development of the game for less than a year.

How not to upset customers and go bankrupt?

 "The player becomes the CEO of a large energy company. He goes through 13 rounds, where each round represents one year. In each round, players encounter an event, such as a power plant failure or an opportunity to take on new clients. In some of them, they then have to make a decision that affects the final rating," Mr. Sadílek described the game's flow. Choices are evaluated on four criteria - environmental impact, popularity with customers, financial impact and the stability of the electrical grid.

"In each round, the player also sets the energy mix for the following year, choosing the sources from which the electricity will be produced. This also greatly influences the criteria and the player's ranking. Depending on the level of the criteria, the player gradually accumulates points. The player's goal is to keep the rating in balance and at the highest possible level," Mr. Sadílek said. In the scorecard, different players can then compare how they did and discuss their strategies based on that. "And thus further fulfil our goal - that is, to generate attention and interest in the energy sector," Sadílek pointed out. Unfortunately, the authors were not able to obtain enough data on the energy network and market in the Czech Republic, so they used information from Germany. Even so, Sadílek said the game realistically shows the basic principles of energy industry.

The game is due for further improvements

The first players were the finalists of this year's Energy Olympiad in Prague in November. "We are currently working on a new graphic design of the game to make it more engaging for players. And it will also allow us to add some new elements, such as a graph that explains the formation of the price of electricity,"Mr. Sadílek concluded, adding that the new graphics should be ready by the end of the year.

After their maturity exams, the creators of the game headed to the Czech Technical University . Mr. Sadílek studies Software Engineering and Technology, MR. Pelc studies Open Computer Science. Both majors are at Faculty of Electrical Engineering. The third winner, Ondřej Dolejš, chose to study at Faculty of Nuclear Sciences and Physical Engineering.

The Energy Literacy Society has been organizing the Energy Olympics since 2018. This year, the two-day finals, which took place at Faculty of Electrical Engineering on 3. and 4 November, 75 male and female students divided into 25 teams. The winner was the team of students Vojtěch Polák, Kamil Tomáš and Lukáš Koucký from the Jan Kepler Grammar School in Prague. The students won over the jury with an interesting idea for a plastic waste disposal station that could be used by logistics centres, for example. Polák, Tomáš and Koucký also became the youngest winners in the history of the competition - they were not even 15 years old at the time of the finals.