Hydro electric

This may be under the “clean energy subsidy” umbrella, but otherwise it is an energy source which is unrepresented in game. I know that from an environmental point of view it might make sense to lump them together, but from an engineering perspective it does not. The reason being how well green energy and nuclear pair, or more the point how well they don’t pair for a power generation system.

From an engineering stand point, you could break your power sources into 3 categories, based on how much control we have over them.

  1. Can be controlled. Examples would be fossil fuel burning, or hydro electric. If you need more power, you throttle the plant up, if you need less power, you throttle it back.

  2. Can be predicted, but not controlled. This would be nuclear energy. We know exactly what rate that fuel will decay at, but we cannot slow the decay down. The boiler which heats the water for the steam plant is also acting like coolant for the nuclear fuel. If you ever stop cooling the nuclear fuel, the reactor melts down. If for whatever reason the energy is not required for electricity at any particular moment, the only thing you can do is bypass the turbine and put the high pressure steam directly into the condenser. This cools it back down and condenses it back to liquid water, but wastes the energy within it.

  3. Unpredictable. This would be solar and wind. If the forecast is wrong and you get a sunnier, windier day than you were expecting, you have surplus energy which needs to be managed. If it’s a calm and cold night, therefore no energy out of the solar or wind but everyone has the heat cranked, you have to find energy somewhere, and the solar and wind are dead weight.

As you can see, hydro and other green sources are at opposite ends of this measurement.

Why am I bringing this up? A common first turn for me in any country which has a nuclear fission policy is to maximize it and the green energy subsidies, then on turn 2 ban coal, and if the country has fossil fuel subsidies, I cancel them to save money. In game this works great, in reality not so much. If you get rid of the fossil fuel burning, and rely on a combination of nuclear and green energy, a former premier of Ontario can tell you what happens. The short version is you become the former premier of Ontario.

With inadequate fossil fuel to throttle up or down, you need enough nuclear energy to provide for the maximum possible demand of the grid. This means you need a certain amount of nuclear fuel to be decaying. Then, any time the green energy does produce anything, an equal amount of energy needs to be wasted at the nuclear power station because it was produced by the green energy source. Does this sound inefficient? It is! Does this sound expensive? It is! It also produced an energy price crisis which produced a change in government.

This is actually a major reason why so much of the world is so stuck to fossil fuels. The 2nd and 3rd categories I laid out above can be part of a power generation system, but you need something from the first category to account for the variable demand. I can’t speak for any other country, but in Canada every time we try to set up a new hydro electric damn we keep tripping on green protesters. This is why I say hydro electric needs to be a separate in game entity from green energy. Environmentalists are a voter group in game, and the same greens who can’t stop swooning over solar panels start chaining themselves to rocks when they hear that a valley is going to be flooded. They of course fail to recognize that by obstructing the only controllable energy alternative to burning things, they are perpetuating the fossil fuel industry. You could say “But Rabid, this is an engineering problem, and we’re talking about a political game”, well, yes, but failing to handle this engineering problem directly led to a real world politician clicking the real world “fade into obscurity” button.

Side note, no I’m not a Doug Ford supporter, but I can take a step back and pragmatically analyze how Kathleen Wynne lost her job.


It’s wrong that we can’t vary the electricity produced by nuclear fission, second generation reactors, when adapted to do it, can do it at a rate of between 2,5 and 5% of their full capacity and new reactors can do it at a rate of 7%, even Chernobyl’s RBMK have the capacity to increase or decrease it’s output deppending on current needs.
If we don’t see it more often it’s because it is cheaper to reduce fossil fuel consumption than to reduce nuclear output.


I think the mechanics of energy generation are fascinating, and appear directly related to addressing the climate, a fulcrum pillar in these games.

Though realistically, I understand the complexity and thematics of the systems we’re talking about are probably earmarked for expansion content, if considered at all, since energy supply, demand, and variation are so cleanly absent from the build we possess, alongside the differentiation of solar, wind, hydro and biomass as energy systems.

I’d love to see it though! Hopefully besides all the other complexities that’ve been discussed here about the advanced politics and economics of climate change.