NEMA is all about Smart Grid, so my weekdays tend to be peppered with Smart Grid news and developments.  To my surprise, the concept popped up at home while I was playing The Sims 2.

Not familiar with The Sims 2?  It's a computer game that has sold 100 million copies since its 2000 release.  As banal as it sounds, the point of the game is to exert one's preferred degree of control over virtual characters called Sims, who have wishes and fears just like humans (of course, articulating the strategy of Freecell would similarly belie its level of addictiveness). 

One of my Sims yearned for a green energy source, and, benevolent dictator that I am, I purchased a solar panel to put on the lawn. A few game days later, when it was time for my energy-sipping Sims to receive their electric bill, I received this message: "Your green energy production has exceeded your energy consumption.  Great job!  You've been refunded §32."

I was pleasantly stunned that the game's developers thought to include an advanced metering infrastructure in the mini-expansion pack released last fall.  For this to happen in my home (outside my computer), smart meters would be necessary.  The NYT has called smart meters "the beating hearts of any smart-grid system."  It's exciting to think about how Smart Grid will transform how we use, produce, and think about electricity. 

The next iteration of the game, The Sims 3, is to be released next month.  My question: will it include Sim job creation for building the grid?


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