Long story short: Make power like in Industrial Craft addon for Minecraft
Energy as transferable units instead of potential units
Implement energy as transferable resource like items going along conveyors.
With such implementation new mechanics can be added:
- Energy storage (Batteries)
- Different cable tires
- Different voltage
- Everything that produces or consumes energy has its own very limited energy storage.
- Energy is the same resource for machines as items for crafting. To perform work machine must charge enough energy.
- Unlike items on conveyors, energy is transferred "by request". Power consumer takes energy from nearest connected sources to charge its own energy storage to perform work.
Energy can be stored in batteries as resource. Batteries have energy input and output nodes.
Batteries can have multiple tires differentiated by input and output limits and storage capacity.
Cables can have multiple tires differentiated by power loss and transferring capacity:
- Low voltage cables - low loss, low capacity, highest price.
- Medium voltage powerlines - medium loss, medium capacity, higher price.
- High voltage powerlines - high loss, high capacity, lower price.
High voltage powerlines may damage closest actors when energy is being transferred.
Low voltage cables can be added for later alternative power sources such as solar powerplants which are usually tend to produce low amount of energy per unit and require lower energy loss cables to transfer energy to a storage.
Different types of voltage can be implemented to make building distant powerplants more interesting and fun.
- Low / Medium Voltage - Machine operable voltage level
- High Voltage - Used to transfer energy over large distances. Danegerous.
Transferring high voltage over medium voltage cables will result in cable damage.
Transferring medium voltage over high voltage cables is possible but inefficient.
Some machines can be made to accept high voltage to perform high energy consuming tasks.
Transformers are machines that convert energy from one voltage level to another.
Point of using transformers is to transfer energy across huge distances over cheaper cables with overall lower energy loss. Transformers can draw or produce high levels of voltage which can be transferred over high voltage cables.
Medium voltage machines can be damaged if those are trying to draw current from high voltage output of a transformer.
IMO: Burning cables and destroying machines by happy little accidents is always fun.
With this implementation, power reporting can be made by monitoring energy flow through powerlines and/or monitoring power charge level and flow on machines and power sources.