Power is a new mechanic introduced in Civilization VI: Gathering Storm. It simulates electricity usage in modern cities. Power is needed for (almost) all late-game buildings and its production is one of the major contributors to CO2 emissions and, consequently, climate change.
Power is a late-game city stat, which has demand and supply (similarly to Amenities). Demand for Power in a city is created by certain buildings; in fact, most late-game Tier 3 buildings (starting with the Factory) will require Power to function at full efficiency. The combination of all buildings which require Power creates the total power requirement of a city.
If the city doesn't have enough Power, the respective buildings will function at about 1/3 of their capacity! Note that a city cannot supply Power to some buildings and not to others - if its total power requirement is not met, then no buildings in it will be Powered.
Note that only late game buildings need Power, so your cities will work just fine without it until you hit the Industrial Era. After that, their Power needs will increase as you build more and more late game buildings. Note that the late-game contributors to the most important stats, including Production, Gold, Science, and Culture need Power. If an empire wants to keep pace with its rivals in the general progress in Science, Culture, and general Production development, it will need to provide power to its cities. Failure to do so will mean significantly reduced progress in the vital closing phase of the game, and this will leave the nation behind in vital late-game races, not to mention vulnerable to foreign invasions, because it won't gain access to the latest military tech before or together with its rivals. Maybe the only kind of victory possible under such circumstances, will be the Religious Victory - Faith production and religious units are unaffected by the new Power mechanics.
Special buildings in the Industrial Zone are dedicated to converting certain resources to Power. For this purpose, the existing Tier 3 Power Plant building has been completely reworked: there are now three separate kinds of Power Plants, each of which uses a different strategic resource ( Coal, Oil, or Uranium) as fuel. Each of them becomes available at a different stage of the game, with the Coal Power Plant unlocking first with Industrialization (Industrial Era), the Oil Power Plant unlocking next with Electricity (Modern Era), and the Nuclear Power Plant unlocking last with Nuclear Fission (Atomic Era).
The upside of using Power Plants is that you won't need that many to power up all of your cities - the regional effect will take care of that. Besides which you will be providing more Production for your cities, along with Power, without using up additional land. The downside is that you will need to juggle your consumable resources between producing power and maintaining your units! And, of course, you will be contributing to Climate change, with all the ensuing negative consequences.
Mechanics of Power Plants
Because of the regional effect of Power Plants and the way they use up stockpiled resources, their exact functioning bears some explanation:
- Each turn a Power Plant will attempt to provide required Power to all cities within range, converting stockpiles of the relevant resource into Power. Note that cities will consider their own Renewable power supplies first, before turning to a nearby Power Plant!
- The Power produced by each single Plant is automatically distributed among all cities in range that need it. The Power range always counts from the District that generates Power to the City Center, not to the District that requires it.
- As the number of buildings requiring Power in cities increases, the Power Plants will automatically use up more and more resources to keep electricity running. There is nothing you could do to prevent this, apart of providing alternative sources of Power, or simply refraining from constructing Buildings that need it.
- When two different types of Power Plants function for the same city (that is, a single city is within range of two different Plants using different resources), things get even more interesting:
- For this city, the game engine will use the Plant which draws the resource of which you have larger stockpile.
- If there is a tie, the game will use the resource of which you gain more per turn.
- If there is still a tie, the more technologically advanced resource will be used.
- For example: If a player has both a Coal Power Plant and an Oil Power Plant supplying the same city, but has larger stockpile of Coal, it will use up this one first, before turning to Oil; if, however, their stockpiles tie, and the player earns the same quantity per turn of both, the game will start using Oil as the more advanced resource.
- Coal and Oil Power Plants will convert their fuel at the rate 1 fuel → 4 Power; the Nuclear Power Plant, however, is much more efficient (as in real life) and will convert 1 fuel to 16 Power! However, it also carries with it the danger of a Nuclear Meltdown disaster, in which the plant might explode, emulating the detonation of a Nuclear Device with the ensuing radioactive fallout. For more info, head here.
- For the sake of total fuel consumption and its distribution among Power plants it doesn't matter how many cities use Power Plants to satisfy their needs - what matters is how many power plants effectively work to provide power. Each separate Power Plant will use at least 1 of the relevant fuel, usually more, if the demand it has to meet between all cities it reaches exceeds 4 Power. For example:
- Let's say we have a Coal Power Plant supplying energy to its own city's Factory, as well as 2 more cities, where there are another Factory and a Stock Exchange (total Power needed = 2 + 2 + 3 = 7). The Coal resource needed for this will be 2, despite the fact that there are three separate cities using it.
- Let's say we have two different cities with a Factory and a Coal Power Plant in each, but the two aren't close enough for a single Power Plant to service their needs. The Power demand of each city will be 2, thus totaling 4; however, you will need both Power Plants to work separately to supply this Power (because the cities are too far away from each other). Thus the amount of fuel resource consumed will be 2, regardless of the fact that the total power needed is only 4!
There is an important consideration to be made in relation to the above notes: advancing to a more technologically advanced resource (which, in turn, emits less CO2) doesn't mean that a switch to its use will be made immediately! As long as there is still a Power Plant in your empire which uses the less-advanced resources resource, and/or its stockpile is larger than the more advanced one, the game will continue drawing from it, instead of the more technologically advanced one until the stockpile levels even out! And, as per the above rules, even then it may continue being used while you're earning more from it per turn! So, if you want to switch immediately to the more advanced resource, the most reliable way is to convert all your power plants to it.
All three types of Power Plants emit CO2 and contribute to Climate Change. The more advanced the plant is, the less emissions it produces, so the Nuclear Power Plant will be the most ecologically-friendly of the three. Only one type of Power Plant may be present in each Industrial Zone; nonetheless, as technology progresses, you can run projects that help convert from one type of Power Plant to a more advanced or more primitive one, depending on what type of resources are most readily available and whether or not you care about climate change. Also, when the Climate Accords competition is active, you will have the opportunity to run the Decommission Power Plant project, which will remove the plant from this zone altogether!
In the latest stages of the game, renewable Power sources also become available. They generate 'free' Power from the land and water, and can replace Power Plants, either partially or completely, as the main source of Power for your cities. They don't "burn" resources (that is, consume them each turn), and because they are "clean" energy, they do not produce CO2 emissions. The downside is that these sources only provide Power for their respective city, and of course, you will need to dedicate land for the four types of generators: Geothermal Plants, Solar Farms, Wind Farms and Offshore Wind Farms. Each type of improvement only works for one distinct terrain type (with the Geothermal Plant working only on a specific terrain feature!), so choose wisely what technology you want to beeline first.
There is an additional, fifth type of renewable Power source: the Hydroelectric Dam, but it may only be built if the city has a Dam district. It is, however, the earliest available and most potent source of renewable Power for your city.
Whenever a building that requires Power is present, it will consume any available Power. Power will be drawn from local renewable sources first, such as the Hydroelectric Dam and the unique bonus from Cardiff. If local renewable sources are insufficient, Power will be drawn from a Power Plant in range. When multiple Power Plants are in range, the resource for which the player has the largest stockpile will be drawn first. Tie is broken by resource gain per turn. If there is still a tie, the most advanced Power Plant takes precedence. That is, Uranium is consumed before Oil, which is again before Coal. (This can be problematic by causing unwanted CO2 emission or suboptimal allocation of resources. Still, the player has no direct control over which Power Plant gets used.)
On the same token, buildings that require Power will always draw Power unless the strategic resources in question fully run out. Thus, even with advanced planning, players can still suffer an "Insufficient Resource" penalty on their units if they suddenly lose production of a certain strategic resource due to Power draw.
|Building||District||Power required||Powered bonus|
|Factory||Industrial Zone||2||+3 Production|
|Research Lab||Campus||3||+5 Science|
|Broadcast Center||Theater Square||3||+4 Culture|
|Stock Exchange||Commercial Hub||3||+7 Gold|
|Food Market||Neighborhood||1||+2 Food|
|Shopping Mall||1||+1 Amenity, +2 Gold|
|Stadium||Entertainment Complex||2||+2 Amenities|
|Aquatics Center||Water Park||2||+2 Amenities|
Each city now has a new tab in its City Details: the Power tab. Here its power requirements and power supply are conveniently and exhaustively described:
- At the top, the Usable and Required numbers describe the exact balance of power at a glance, and specifies whether the city is Powered or Unpowered.
- The Usable Power section underneath lists all current sources of Power for this city (from local renewables, or from cities with power plants) and how much exactly each one supplies. It also lists the icon of the resource which currently supplies the power.
- The Required Power section lists all buildings in the city requiring Power, and how much each one requires.
- The Power Plant Output section is present if this city has a Power Plant and supplies power to nearby cities. Here you can see exactly which city supplies Power to which other cities, and how much. This will help you a lot when deciding which power plants to switch to different resource consumption in order to optimize your Fuel resources.
- Main article: Lens (Civ6)
The game developers stressed that the Power system is not essential for your game - that is, you can go on without ever providing Power to your cities. But.... let's be frank about it. These 3 additional Production from the Factory, not to mention the monstrous amounts of additional Culture, Science, etc. which powered Tier 3 buildings will provide are simply too important to pass on! You can be sure the AI doesn't plan to pass them on (well, unless being Kupe). If you're attempting to be 'green' in the Industrial, Modern and Atomic Eras, relying only on those Hydroelectric Dams (the only sustainable energy source available before early Information Era), you may be risking putting yourself in the back half of the victory-chasing pack.
A mid-to-large sized empire will need on average 5-8 Power per city when fully developed (if we assume a Factory + 2 other Tier 3 buildings). So, 50-80 Power for 10 cities. You can't get that with only early sustainable energy buildings, i.e. a Hydroelectric Dam - it provides only 6 power, and besides, not every single city will be able to construct it. Granted, you won't need that much power in the Industrial and Modern Era, but you should consider the fact that your total progress will still suffer if you do not provide any power at all in this period, or if you provide only a fraction of what is required. You need a strategy.
So, how can you power up your cities in a 'smart' way?
The dirty way
This means using more polluting, but generally more available fossil fuels, mainly Coal. This resource is used only for 2 types of ships in the Industrial and Modern Eras, compared to the omnipresent Oil, which is needed for practically all modern weapons before the Giant Death Robot. So, you will use your Oil to maintain a top-notch army, and the dirty Coal can be used generally to provide cheap power to your cities. This may, of course, be complemented by Hydroelectric Dams in cities which are able to build them, but their share of the energy footprint will be minor. And your contribution to global warming will go through the roof.
You can attempt a slightly more environmentally friendly approach, and primarily use Oil for Power Plants. But, look above - using this approach will force you to limit the number of modern units you have, and leave you vulnerable to late-game adventurists and domination-seeking players. Unless of course you're lucky enough to have 4+ sources of the most difficult to find resource in the game.
The goal of the 'dirty' way is to power up your cities in the 'cheapest' way possible, while preserving your advanced resources for units and your land for other development. Since power plants, with their regional effect, are the main source of Power, and they will automatically use as much resources as needed, you will need relatively few plants and may dedicate your land and time to building other stuff than Industrial Zones. Or if you prefer, you may build a Zone in every city for the sake of the Production boost - it won't make a difference for your CO2 footprint.
The green way
Environmentally friendly ("green") sources of power include mainly tile improvements, as well as the above-mentioned Hydroelectric Dam. The good about this is that there are potentially limitless opportunities for placing such things - practically every tile in your empire not containing a District, wonder or resource may be used for generating green power. The bad is:
- Most green power sources become available very late in the game to make a difference.
- You will need to use a lot of land (and water), which could potentially be used for more profitable ventures.
That said, you have an important trump card here: Atomic Power. This power source is 4 (four!) times as efficient as other types of fuel, so you will be using one quarter of it to generate the same level of Power. If you combine this with Sustainable energy improvements, you can make it work.
However, the Nuclear Power Plant becomes available quite late, in the Atomic Era, and the other improvements even later. Until then, you will only have the Hydroelectric Dam as power-generating means. So, use it! Build Dam districts in all cities where you're able to; research Electricity ASAP, then build the Hydros. This will provide 6 Power in every city where you have a Dam - use only these cities for your power-requiring buildings for now. Build Industrial Zones there for the Factories, use them to provide Production boosts to nearby cities, but do not build any Power Plants, or they will start burning resources automatically! You can also run Industrial Zone Logistics projects in other cities where you have a Zone, but no Dam - this will power them up while the project runs. A temporary solution, of course, but it's better than nothing.
Feel free to use all of your Uranium for power generation, unless you're seeking a Domination victory. In that case you will need at least some of it for the ultimate units in the game. Fulfill the rest of your Power needs with sustainable energy - if you're a domination player, you should have more than enough land to spare for such endeavors. And you will have the satisfaction of having contributed the least to global warming. Which might turn out to be life-saving, if you're a coastal civilization!
And... if it turns out you don't have Uranium you had better turn to the 'dirty' strategy ASAP, because you've wasted enough time already.
- See Civilopedia article on Power.
|Civilization VI Statistics |
|Culture • Diplomatic Favor • Faith • Food • Gold • Power • Production • Science • Tourism|
|Added in the Gathering Storm expansion pack.|