Integrating the Energy Flex Game into university courses
10 july 2024

The Energy Flex Game offers a dynamic simulation experience for household electricity consumption. Participants can adjust the level of demand response load shifting, buy or sell electricity to the grid based on dynamic tariffs, and manage self-consumption or sale of electricity generated by a PV power plant under various constraints. Additionally, the game includes the use of a storage system.

Developed by Josef Haber and Vladislav Martinek from the University Centre for Energy Efficient Buildings at CTU in Prague as part of the SPARCS project, the game can be played physically like a large board game or digitally on a computer using a spreadsheet. It provides players with a comprehensive understanding of the interrelationships between the system components of household electricity supply. Moreover, it helps players grasp how specific operational decisions lead to varying economic outcomes.

The chair for Energy Management and Sustainability of the University of Leipzig has integrated the Energy Flex Game into the curriculum of one of its modules “Sustainable Energy Economics”, offered by the Institute for Infrastructure and Resources Management. Initially, students engage with the beginner’s version, which focuses on demand response load shifting. They then progress to the advanced version, which includes a PV power plant and a storage system. Students manually simulate one day multiple times, gradually improving their economic outcomes in terms of overall electricity costs.

Within the teaching module “Sustainable Energy Economics”, the basics of energy system optimization modeling are introduced. This already gives a first insight into the specialization module “Modeling in Resources Management” offered in the winter semester. With this foundational knowledge, students develop an optimization model based on the Energy Flex Game. This model calculates the optimal system operation to achieve minimal electricity costs or even generate an overall profit while adhering to the given constraints.

The Energy Flex Game is an ideal teaching tool for understanding energy system interrelationships at the household level. Furthermore, it serves as an excellent foundation for demonstrating the differences between simulation and optimization and for learning to translate systemic conditions into simple optimization models.

The teaching staff of the chair for Energy Management and Sustainability at the University of Leipzig is currently working on expanding the integration of the game into suitable course curriculums and enhancing its potential by linking it with additional topics.