Glossary

Appliance A piece of equipment, commonly powered by electricity, used to perform a particular energy-driven function. Examples of common appliances are refrigerators, clothes washers and dishwashers, conventional ranges/ovens and microwave ovens, humidifiers and dehumidifiers, toasters, radios, and televisions.
Ampere, amps A measurement of the amount of electric current.
Circuit A circular path in which electricity travels.
Cogeneration The production of electrical energy and another form of useful energy (such as heat of steam) through the sequential use of energy.
Conductor Something that allows electricity to flow through it easily. Water and most metals are good conductors. Conductors can allow electricity to flow through them because the electrons in their atoms move between atoms very easily.
Current The movement or flow of electricity.
Distribution wires Power lines that carry electricity through towns and neighborhoods to homes and businesses. Distribution lines can run overhead or underground.
Electrical Energy The energy associated with electric charges and their movements.
Electricity The flow of electrons.
Electron The basic particle that orbits the nucleus of an atom. The flow of electrons produces electricity.
Energy The ability to do work. People get energy from food. Your toaster and your washing machine get their energy from electricity.
Fluorescent bulb A light bulb that emits light because the gas inside it glows when it is charged by electricity.
Fossil Fuels Fuels (coal, oil, natural gas, etc.) that result from the compression of ancient plant and animal life formed over millions of years.
Fuel cell A technology that produces electricity through a chemical reaction similar to that found in a battery.
Generator A machine that converts mechanical energy into electrical energy.
Generating Capacity The amount of electrical power a power plant can produce.
Geothermal energy Energy that is generated by converting hot water or steam from deep beneath the Earth's surface into electricity.
Grid The layout of an electrical distribution system.
Horsepower A unit for measuring the rate of work (or power) equivalent to 33,000 foot-pounds per minute or 746 watts.
Hydroelectric Power Plant A power plant that uses moving water to power a turbine generator to produce electricity.
Incandescent bulb A light bulb that emits light due to the glowing of a heated filament inside it.
Kilowatt–hour One kilowatt of electricity produced or used in one hour.
Load The power and energy requirements of users on the electric power system in a certain area or the amount of power delivered to a certain point.
Megawatt 1,000,000 watts of power or 1,000 kilowatts.
Nonrenewable Fuels that cannot be easily made or "renewed." We can use up nonrenewable fuels. Oil, natural gas, and coal are nonrenewable fuels.
Nuclear Energy Energy that comes from splitting atoms of radioactive materials, such as uranium.
Power The rate at which energy is transferred. Electrical energy is usually measured in watts. Also used for a measurement of capacity.
Power plant A place where electricity is generated.
Peak Load Plant A plant usually housing old, low-efficiency steam units, gas turbines, diesels, or pumped-storage hydroelectric equipment normally used during the peak-load periods.
Renewable Energy Sources Fuels that can be easily made or "renewed." We can never use up renewable fuels. Types of renewable fuels are hydropower (water), solar, wind, geothermal, and biomass.
Solar energy Energy from the sun.
Transformer A device used to increase or decrease electricity's voltage and current.
Turbine A device which blades, which is turned by a force, e.g. that of wind, water, or high pressure steam. The mechanical energy of the spinning turbine is converted into electricity by a generator.
Utility A company or other organization that provides a public service, such as supplying electricity, natural gas, or water.
Voltage, volts A measure of the pressure under which electricity flows.