The carrier generates a constant amount of power to allocate to its primary systems. Activating powered systems increases the amount of power drawn from this supply. When the total power drawn by all systems exceeds the power supplied by the carrier, some systems will operate at reduced efficiency.
There are six breakers that can be flipped to control power to each primary system. The six breakers are arranged as follows:
The main breaker powers the entire ship.
The repair system draws power while the carrier is repairing its hull or subsystems. Repairing the carrier's hull requires substantially more power than repairing a subsystem.
While the carrier's power supply is overdrawn, the rate of repair is reduced.
The propulsion system draws power while the carrier is maneuvering and has the highest potential draw of any primary system. The maximum potential draw is reached while the carrier throttle is set to full, maximum turning rate is set, or side thrusters are set to maximum.
While the carrier's power supply is overdrawn, the speed of the carrier's turning and movement is reduced.
The weapons system draws power while the carrier's weapon systems are armed. Each weapon arming switch draws the same amount of power while armed, except the flare launcher and countermeasures which draw less power.
While the carrier's power supply is overdrawn, the effects on weapon systems operation are unknown.
The lift/crane system moves aircraft between their berths and the flight deck. The lift/crane system only draws power while the lift and/or crane are moving.
While the carrier's power supply is overdrawn, the lift and crane move more slowly.
The radar system draws power while the radar breaker is turned on. When radar is turned off, no power is drawn and no information is shown on the radar display.
While the carrier's power supply is overdrawn, the effects on radar operation are unknown.
Power management is a minigame of priorities. Is it vital that your carrier is moving at maximum speed, or is it more important to activate multiple other systems? Do you need radar, or do you have enough eyeballs between the crew to spot incoming threats? Do you need to repair now, or can it wait for a quieter moment? Are you sure you need that CIWS armed while no threats are on the radar? Paying attention to and optimizing power management rewards you with faster carrier movement and flight deck operations.
As a rule of thumb, expect that you can power one system other than propulsion while moving at full speed. Powering more systems will reduce your carrier's speed. While the carrier is not moving, enough power is available to fully supply most other systems, given unneeded weapons are not armed.
Weapons have the second highest potential power draw when all weapons are armed. Disarm all weapons while traveling to prevent delays; instead rely on watching the holo table, map screens, and radar display to spot incoming threats and arm weapons as needed.
Each AA missile launcher draws the same amount of power while armed and there is no cooldown between launching missiles, so only arm one at a time and use it until it has no remaining missiles loaded.
Each CIWS draws the same amount of power and arming all four draws more power than your radar, so you can save a lot of power by only activating specific CIWS quadrants when a threat is known.