The economic and policy justifications for clean energy subsidies are complex and difficult to internalize. A subsidy induces additional consumers to buy, reducing carbon emissions through reduced fossil fuel consumption. Over the long term, subsidies encourage industry investment and cost reductions. Ideally, subsidies can be removed when the technology is broadly competitive. Deciding on an appropriate level of government subsidy is complex because a decision-maker should balance government expenditures and benefits over both time and space. A subsidy can be excessive when government costs are too high and/or many consumers would have purchased the unsubsidized product, but can also be too low if insufficient to encourage adoption. In order to educate non-experts on these ideas, we created a case study about the topic, consisting of teaching materials and a cooperative multiplayer game that is playable in small groups in 15–30 min. We have used the case study in both university courses and public-facing events and believe that it would be of interest as teaching material for cost-benefit analysis, government subsidy design, clean energy policy, and science and technology policy education or training. After 15 min with the game, players have a basic understanding of all the important factors and dynamics of subsidy design. For the reader, this article offers a specific example of how to translate a sophisticated technoeconomic decision model into an educational game and includes rules and supplementary materials needed to cover the topic of subsidy design and to try the game in courses and general public settings.
Teaching the Complex Dynamics of Clean Energy Subsidies With the Help of a Model-as-Game
Eric Hittinger, Qing Miao, Eric Williams; Teaching the Complex Dynamics of Clean Energy Subsidies With the Help of a Model-as-Game. Case Studies in the Environment 23 January 2023; 7 (1): 2045388. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/cse.2023.2045388
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