Energy Glossary


Base Load – The level of electrical demand on the system that is constant (or nearly constant) despite daily or weekly variation. It can change seasonally.

 Peak Consumption – The level of demand that is highest through the day (or year). In NB, this is typically at around 7am and 6pm when residents are cooking, heating their homes, and using appliances and hot water.

 Black Out – Loss of power on the grid due to disruptions to transmission or generating infranstructure.

 Brown Out – Partial loss of power on the grid typically due to generation facilities having problems. Electricity isn’t completely lost, the power reaching a home is typically at a frequency different from the normal 60 HZ, which causes lights to shine a dim, brownish glow.

 Carbon footprint – The emissions of CO2 associated with an activity or event across its entire lifecycle.

 Demand – In electricity terms, demand refers to the power (in MW) required by users of the system. This demand must be met by generating stations to ensure a smooth supply of electricity.

 Capacity Factor – The actual electricity produced by a facility as a fraction of the total it could produce if it were operating constantly at full strength over the same time period.

 Intermittency – The tendency of an electricity generation technology to have an uncontrolled increase or decrease in output. Most often, this is an issue with renewable technologies like wind and solar power.

 kWh (Kilo Watt hour) – A basic unit of energy used in the power generation energy and on the power bill of utility companies. One kWh is equal to 1 kW of power used over the course of one hour.

 Radioactive – A radioactive material undergoes the breaking apart of atoms to release various atomic particles, forms of radiation, and energy.

 Potential Energy – The energy possessed by a system due to its position. A weight held at a height has potential energy, for example.

 Photon – A basic unit of light energy.

 Electron – An atomic particle carrying a negative charge. The particle responsible for electricity.


Last modified: Wednesday, 30 April 2014, 7:00 PM