Environmental Role-Play:

Bepo Dam Plan, The Managing Climate Risk in Energy Sector Planning


Todd Schenk under the supervision of David Fairman, David Plumb, Lawrence Susskind, Philip Angell, and Kelly Levin

Eight-party negotiation (with option for a ninth person facilitator) regarding climate change issues in a situation loosely based on the situation in Ghana.


Please note: you must order a copy (a.k.a. license/usage fee) for every person participating in the simulation in your course. This simulation has multiple roles, so you will be unable to complete your purchase without meeting the minimum quantity requirement of copies per role.

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Soft copy vs. hard copy

You may order this role simulation in either soft copy (electronic) or hard copy (paper) format. If you select the soft copy option, you will receive an e-mail with a URL (website address) from which you may download an electronic file in Adobe Acrobat PDF format. You will have one week to download your materials from when you receive the email. You are then only authorized to use, print, or share the materials as many times as the number of copies you purchase. The TNRC charges for use of this simulation on a per-participant basis. Therefore, you must purchase a separate copy of this simulation for each person who will be participating, regardless of the number of roles in the simulation. You will only receive a link to one electronic file, which includes all general instructions, confidential instructions, and any teaching notes for the simulation. You should separate out the instructions before distributing to participants.

If you select the hard copy option, you will receive paper copies of this role simulation via the shipping method you select.

For additional information about the soft copy option, please visit our FAQ section, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at tnrc@law.harvard.edu or 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.) or 301-528-2676 (outside the U.S.).

Please note: At the present time, Teaching Negotiation Resource Center soft copies are compatible with the following versions of the Adobe Acrobat Reader: English, German, French, Spanish, Swedish, Portuguese, Japanese, and Korean. If you have a different version of the Acrobat Reader, you may wish to download one of these at http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at tnrc@law.harvard.edu, 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.), or 301-528-2676 (outside the U.S.) for further assistance. This restriction does not apply to the freely available Teacher’s Package Review Copies.

Ordering a single copy for review

If you wish to review the materials for a particular role simulation to decide whether you’d like to use it, a PDF, or soft copy, version of the Teacher’s Package for the simulation is available as a free download from the description page of most role simulations and case studies. All Teacher’s Packages include copies of all participant materials. In addition, some Teacher’s Packages (but not all) include additional teaching materials such as teaching notes or overhead masters.

Ordering copies for multiple participants

To order multiple copies of a role simulation for use in a course or workshop, simply enter the total number of participants in the box next to “Quantity.” There is no need to calculate how many of each role is required.

If you are ordering hard copies, the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center will calculate the appropriate numbers of each role to provide, based on the total number of participants. For example, if you wish to order a 2-party role simulation for use with a class of 30 students, you would enter “30” in the box next to “Quantity.” You then would receive 15 copies of one role and 15 copies of the other role, for use with your 30 participants. As another example, if you ordered 30 participant copies of a 6-party role simulation, you would receive 5 copies of each role.

In the event that the number of participant copies you order is not evenly divisible by the number of roles in the simulation, you will receive extra copies of one or more roles. Participants receiving the extra roles may partner with other participants playing the same role, thus negotiating as a team. So, for instance, if you ordered 31 copies of a 2-party role simulation, you would receive 15 copies of the first role and 16 copies of the second role. One of the participants playing the second role would partner with another participant playing that same role, and the two would negotiate as a team.

Bulk Pricing Discount

For bulk orders, we offer the following pricing discounts. Please note that these only apply to bulk orders of the same simulation.

  • Between 100-250 copies – 10% discount
  • Between 251-500 copies – 25% discount
  • More than 500 copies – 50% discount
Log In or Register to download the free Teacher's Package Sample.

The Bepo Dam Plan exercise presents the kinds of challenges decision makers are expected to face in the near future in light of climate change based on trends already seen, predictions of what may come and plans already under development. This exercise is loosely based on the situation in Ghana, and was first run there. Ghana depends on hydroelectricity for much of its power supply and climate change poses a very real threat.  Two-dozen people were interviewed in the preparation of this exercise and an extensive literature review was conducted. The details have, however, been modified and this scenario is placed in the fictitious country of Suna. Ultimately, the setting is not so important – while other countries will not face the exact same challenges, planning for a changing climate is increasingly recognized as necessary around the world and this exercise can help decision makers to think about how to make choices in the face of substantial uncertainty. Many countries are, in fact, facing similar questions around hydroelectric dams, but the questions raised are generalizable to situations beyond this particular issue.

This exercise will help participants to think about:

  • How to deal with data that could have serious implications but are highly uncertain and dynamic;
  • How and at what stage climate change should be factored into planning and decision-making;
  • How to consider risk in decision-making; and
  • How different stakeholders can work together to make these challenging decisions.


The country of Suna is planning to construct a new dam – called the Bepo – to meet its rapidly growing electricity needs and current supply deficit. Suna has traditionally depended upon hydroelectricity and sees it as an inexpensive way to produce electricity that is not vulnerable to spikes in global fuel prices. The proposed site for the Bepo is one of the last large unexploited opportunities for hydro in Suna, with an expected installed capacity of 425 megawatts. The projected cost amortized out over the life of the project is only 7.9 cents per kWh, making it relatively inexpensive.

Unfortunately, hydroelectricity is starting to seem less certain than it has been in the past. The Esono Basin, in which two existing dams are located and the Bepo is proposed, has experienced significant variations in average seasonal and annual flow in recent years. The reason for these hydrologic changes is hotly contested – some blame changes in land and water use upstream while others point to the effects of climatic change – but in either case, a recently released report suggests that things may get worse. The report acknowledges that there is growing uncertainty and presents three scenarios in light of continued climate change: A ‘rainy season’ scenario in which precipitation is concentrated in an intense wet season while the rest of the year is quite dry; a ‘desert’ scenario in which there is much less precipitation overall; and a ‘little change’ scenario in which the precipitation patterns remain much as they have traditionally.

The question is: What should the planners and decision-makers involved in advancing or permitting the Bepo project do in light of this new information? The growing need for electricity is significant, but, if either the ‘rainy season’ or (particularly) the ‘desert’ scenario were to play out, it would have serious negative impacts. Doing nothing is not an option, but a useless ‘white elephant’ of a dam would represent a major waste of precious resources and could leave the country without electricity. As noted previously, participants are challenged to think about how to deal with these significant but highly uncertain and dynamic forecasts; to consider how climate change can and should be factored into decision making; how to accommodate or live with risk; and how they might work together to make these challenging but ultimately important and necessary decisions.


  • NATIONAL PLANNING COMMISSION – Confidential Instructions
  • SUNA ENERGY CO. – Confidential Instructions
  • ENERGY AUTHORITY – Confidential Instructions
  • WATER AUTHORITY – Confidential Instructions
  • ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION OFFICE – Confidential Instructions
  • INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT BANK – Confidential Instructions
  • ENERGY FUTURES – Confidential Instructions
  • ASSOCIATION OF INDUSTRIES – Confidential Instructions


Bepo Dam Plan, The Attributes

Time required: 6.5-8 hours
Number of participants: 8
Teams involved: No
Agent present: None
Neutral third party present: Yes
Scoreable: No
Teaching notes available: Yes