Electricity is important to your community in Cities: Skylines 2. I mean, it’s pretty important to a community in the real world, too, but within the game, your city will not grow without it. So, what’s the best source of power in Cities: Skylines 2.
That’s going to depend on where you’ve put your development points, so let’s start at the beginning. If you’re making a new city, you’re going to have limited options to generate power. This comes down to coal, gas, and wind. Each has its strengths and weaknesses, but just use natural gas, and I’ll explain why.
Wind turbines are a great way to avoid the heavy pollution generated by coal and oil burning. However, under the absolute best circumstances, they generate 5MW. Meanwhile, a coal power plant generates 20MW. A gas plant? 250MW.
Obviously, this comes at a price. A literal price since the coal plant costs $100,000, while the natural gas one runs at $650,000. Beyond that, the running cost of a coal plant is $70,000 per month to run, while gas has a maintenance fee of $625,000. That’s a lot of strain for the budget you start off with, but there’s a way to offset this.
Build the gas power plant, then run high-tension wires to the ones that are running across the map to outside connections. This connects your power grid to the other (imaginary) cities, which allows you to export your excess power. While your town is still developing, that can actually generate a profit for you, resulting in a net gain. Once your city grows to the point where it requires the full output of your plant, you’ll be making enough in tax money to pay for it as usual.
You might (rightfully) hate using such a polluting form of energy. Thankfully, Cities: Skylines 2 doesn’t simulate climate change, so you can pump that digital CO2 to your heart’s content. Just make sure its downwind from your citizens.
What about later?
Once you’ve spent development points to climb the power production tree, more options will be available to you. So, which one is the overall best? Once again, it’s a clear answer: nuclear power.
A nuclear plant generates a whopping 750MW of energy per month, which is the equivalent of three gas plants. Its maintenance fee is $1,000,000 per month, which is actually a savings over that tree of gas plants. It produces no ground, water, or air pollution. However, it makes a lot of noise, so you should still build it away from homes.
There is a downside, and, no, it isn’t the potential to go into meltdown. It requires a lot of water for cooling. Once you plop it down, get ready to make some additions to your water system.
It is also not a renewable source of power, as there are materials that are spent in the generation of nuclear power. This means you won’t get the “Zero Emission” achievement. If that’s important to you, then you’ll need to rely on solar, geothermal, and good old-fashioned hydroelectric if you have the terrain necessary.