Learn a few enlightening energy terms

Producing and delivering the energy that powers our homes and businesses often involves introducing new terms. We’ve listed and defined many of those to help you navigate the energy process along with us.

Cogeneration
Production of heat energy and electrical or mechanical power from the same fuel in the same facility.
Demand
The level at which electricity is delivered to users at a given point in time. Electric demand is measured in kilowatts.
Department of Energy (DOE)
A federal agency that manages the programs of research, development, and commercialization of various energy technologies and associated environmental, regulatory, and defense programs. The DOE promulgates energy policies and acts as a principal advisor to the President of the United States on energy matters.
Distribution
The process of transforming high-voltage electricity to lower voltages and then physically delivering it to the electricity users.
Distribution System
The substations, wires, and lines that convey electricity from high-powered transmission lines to ultimate consumers.
Electricity
A property of the basic parts of matter. A form of energy having magnetic, radiant, and chemical effects. A current of electricity is increased by an increase in the charged particles.
Energy
The capability of doing work. The resources that make a technology operational. The term "energy" is also used to mean electricity supplied over time. It is expressed in kilowatt-hours.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
A federal agency established under the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1970 to undertake all administrative and regulatory functions related to the prevention, control, and abatement of air pollution.
Fossil Fuel
Oil, coal, or natural gas. Fuel that was formed in the earth in prehistoric times from remains of living organisms.
Grid
The electric transmission and distribution system that links power plants to customers.
Interchange
The agreement among interconnected utilities under which they buy, sell, and exchange power among themselves. This can provide for economy and emergency power supplies.
Kilowatt Hour
A kilowatt hour measures the quantity of electricity generated or consumed in one hour.
Load Management
Steps taken to reduce power demand at peak load times or to shift some of the load to off-peak times.
Lumens/Watts
A measure of the efficiency of a light bulb. The number of lumens output per watt of power input.
Megawattt
A unit of electric power equal to one million watts or 1,000 kilowatts.
Nuclear Energy
Power obtained by splitting heavy atoms (fission) or joining light atoms (fusion). A nuclear power plant uses a controlled atomic chain reaction to produce heat. The heat is used to make steam to run conventional turbine generators.
Peak Load
The highest electrical demand within a particular period of time.
Transmission
The process of conducting the flow of electricity at high voltages from the points of generation to the locations of groups of electricity users.
Turbine Generator
A device that uses steam, heated gases, water flow, or wind to cause a spinning motion that activates electromagnetic forces and generates electricity.

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