The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), in collaboration with the Future Institute, opened up an online game that seeks to address problems in the future technology of smart grid implementation. The video corresponding to the game sets up a future apocalyptic scenario where the winters across the United States are as extreme as the summers, causing a substantial increase in home energy use, and under the smart grid variable rate, utility bills triple. Aggravated consumers pressure federal representatives who stop the mass rollout of smart grids in America, leaving our nation woefully behind our foreign counterparts.
With that reality in mind, a user then creates a profile, and can choose from a variety of sweet avatars; I selected the cheetah. The game is really just a 140 character (Oh! Like Twitter?) post about what you think about the what the benefits and hindrances will be for a global adoption of smart grids. I suggested utility companies should have to release an ease to use report, highlighting full financial disclosure, like public institutions, so that independent consumers can decided if the company is working to reduce use and optimize cost.
Ready to play? Too bad. The game was only open for 24 hours from March 17th to 18th. And what did the winners get? Bragging rights, I suppose. So, nothing. It was a good effort, I guess, but the benefits don’t seem all that useful.
IEEE also announced their “SMART Competition” for high school students that will take place in 2012. The contest will focus on building design, smart grid monitoring, and neighborhood impact over the course of various conditions, servicing a variety of vehicles. Bentley is currently supporting a beta-program of the competition in Arizona, Massachusetts, Texas, and Michigan that will be completed in July. Registrations for the SMART Competition open in November 2011.