The depletion of fossil fuel sources for our energy system and the influence on overall CO2
emissions drive the need to more sustainable energy systems. The transition towards a renewable energy system cannot be seen as a purely technical issue; it is strongly embedded within society. In this study, we analyze the stakeholder complexities of the transition in urban districts and research the use of a simulation game to increase the understanding of the complexity of the transition. Surveys and observations were used to collect data about the learning experiences of playing the game GO2Zero. The results show that participants liked to play the game and they considered the game a valid representation of the system. Further, the participants agree that they obtained a better understanding of the complexity of the residential energy system and experienced a variety of challenges in the transition. Simulation games, like GO2Zero, could become valuable instruments in local energy transition processes as they offer a safe environment for novices and experts to jointly experiment with the challenges in this process. These experiences could support the design of the transition process by helping actors to formulate goals and collaborative strategies for achieving those goals. Future research will focus on the use of this game for experimenting with different strategies and instruments and to analyze their effects.
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