Game Idea: Electric Power

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Delta Force
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Game Idea: Electric Power

Post by Delta Force » 12:35:53 Sunday, 16 April, 2017

Electric Power

This game would involve managing an energy company and would start around 1950. Companies would have to produce and refine fuels (coal, petroleum, natural gas, and uranium) and transport them for use (ships, railways, and pipelines). Once processed, the fuel can be sold directly to consumers or to utility companies that provide heat and/or power. There are natural gas companies for heat and other purposes, and also electric power companies that produce their power through various means. The fuel industry is subject to a lot of volatility that can make and break companies, while the utility industry is subject to regulated rates of return (particularly on capital investments) that can provide a stable return on investment, although energy crises can lead to fuel price instability that can lose the company a lot of money. Players might also be able to play as investment banks and infrastructure companies (building transportation and power infrastructure, researching improvements, etc.).

Starting in the 1950s is key to this, as the energy sector was a lot more diverse. Petroleum was actually extensively used for power generation because it was more affordable than coal in some circumstances, and it was often considered more environmentally friendly at the time. Sulfur and acid rain was a major concern at the time, and while sulfur can be refined from petroleum flue gas desulfurization wasn't a major technology at the time for coal (but maybe someone could research it earlier for coal). The 1950s was also the start of pollution and environmental regulations and the birth of the nuclear power industry, which was economically competitive during the 1960s.

Different fuel sources will have to play against each other to expand their market share in the rapidly growing energy markets of the post-World War II world. They can use pollution and environmental regulations against each other, not just between different fuel and energy sources but also between fuel companies and electric companies. Remember, electric companies get a regulated rate of return on prudent investments (especially capital investments), so they would support legal requirements to build and/or retrofit facilities with the latest technology, at least if they don't have connections with fuel provision. It could be a competitive advantage to avoid creating a fully integrated company, or it might be advantageous to do so in a way that plays the strengths and weaknesses of various fuel sources against each other. For example, a company involved in petroleum/natural gas (peaker plants are best used to fill power requirements in excess of minimum power supply requirements) could become involved in nuclear power (more expensive power plant cost, cheap fuel cost, best used to fulfill minimum power supply requirements). Even power plant suppliers could try to steer things different ways, such as lobbying for the government to purchase power plants for the federal utilities or install generating equipment at government owned isotope production reactors.

To prevent metagaming external shocks such as energy crises and issues with different fuel sources will be kept randomized. It isn't guaranteed that there will be a petroleum crisis in 1973 and 1979, but it also isn't guaranteed that a coal ash slurry pond, nuclear power plant, or hydroelectric station won't suffer a crisis that puts that energy source under scrutiny.

Delta Force
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Re: Game Idea: Electric Power

Post by Delta Force » 12:36:10 Sunday, 16 April, 2017

There might be some overlap between the different roles, but here are some possible companies that could be in the game. Perhaps players could pick two different companies to specialize in.

Player Roles
-- Petroleum Companies: They produce and refine petroleum (also natural gas) for sale to consumers and utilities. The might own pipelines to get the fuel to customers too.
-- Coal Companies: They produce coal and might also own railroads too for balance. In addition to transporting coal, the railroads can also transport petroleum (they might be needed to transport uranium and power plant machinery inland too).
-- Atomic Power Consortia: They produce nuclear fuel and build nuclear power plants. There aren't any nuclear power plants at the start, but government subsidies and regulations can help it gain market share at the start. There weren't really atomic power consortia in the 1950s (they are a more recent development), but this is for simplicity and balance.
-- Electric Engineering Companies: These companies build traditional power plant equipment such as high voltage lines, fossil fuel plants, and hydropower plants. They provide turn key plants for balance purposes, although in real life the electric component suppliers and construction companies are usually separate.
-- Electric Utilities: They generate electricity and sell it to customers to try to earn their regulated rate of return.

Other roles can be added if desired and suitable for the era.

LordMoose
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Re: Game Idea: Electric Power

Post by LordMoose » 13:09:02 Sunday, 16 April, 2017

I will play

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