Protologue

Electric current

a measure the flow of electric charge across a surface. The SI unit of electric current is the ampere, which is equal to a flow rate of one coulomb per second.  Pros a means to measuring the pieces of energy. Cons Current, and not voltage, is what that can kill in electrical accident. Real Talk…
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Electric Distribution Company (EDC)

the company that owns the power lines and equipment necessary to deliver purchased electricity to the customer. Pros Dedicated to owning and maintaining the infrastructure needed to operate our electrical systems. Cons Can be limiting due in part to goals that are misaligned with the market transformation to 100% RE. Real Talk Someone will need…
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Electric Generation Supplier (EGS)

A person or corporation, generator, broker, marketer, aggregator or any other entity licensed by the PUC that sells electricity to customers, using the transmission or distribution facilities of an electric distribution company (EDC). Pros Can facilitate the sale of RE from community owned or rural areas to customers located in densely populated areas. Cons Can be confusing to…
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Electric vehicle

a vehicle which uses one or more electric motors for propulsion, as opposed to a single Internal Combusion Engine (ICE). Includes conventional hybrids (e.g. Toyota Prius), Plug-in Hybrid Electriv Vehicles (PHEVs), Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) and Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs). Pros Vehicle transportation without combustion Cons Cars can be expensive and charging infrastructure is…
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Electricity demand

the rate, measured in kW, at which electricity is consumed on an instantaneous basis. Compare to energy consumption (measured in kWh), which represents the quantity of energy consumed over a certain period of time. The "demand charges" seen on electric utility bills correspond to a customer's peak usage; this portion of the bill is used…
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Energy

the universal measure of power over time. Electrical energy is derived from electric potential or kinetic energy, and supplied by the combination of electric current (Amps) and electric potential (Volts) that is delivered by an electrical circuit (e.g., provided by an electric power utility). Pros A pillar of modern economies. Cons Can be created by…
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Energy audit

is an assessment of your home or business that takes a look at current energy consumption and then identifies energy efficiency measures that you can conduct to make your home more efficient. Pros Helps you understand how you are using energy. Cons The quality of audit can vary widely. Real Talk ASHRAE has developed level 1, 2, 3 energy…
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Escalator value

A percentage value that can either increase or decrease a contracted value over time or for a given market condition. Pros Reflects future changes to market conditions Cons They can be contractually mandated into effect even if the market conditions don't call for it. For example, a solar PV power purchase agreement rate with an…
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Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)

an independent governmental agency that regulates the interstate transmission of electricity, natural gas, and oil. FERC also reviews proposals to build liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals and interstate natural gas pipelines as well as licensing hydropower projects.  Pros They have the ability to shape our energy economy at a national level. Cons The commissioners are…
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Feed-in tariff

a policy mechanism designed to accelerate investment in renewable energy technologies by offering long-term contracts to renewable energy producers, typically based on the cost of generation of each technology. Also known as FITs. Pros Allows ordinary energy users to receive a guarantee market based payment for renewable electricity they generate and feed-in to the grid.…
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Firm services

services such as electricity and natural gas supplies that are intended to be available at all times during a period covered by an agreement. Also called uninterruptible services. Pros Provides a high level of energy reliability Cons Can be expensive Real Talk Rates are tools to shape markets and send signals to consumers and producers…
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Franchise agreement

a contract between a city and a utility company that outlines certain requirements for the utility to use the city’s public rights of way.  Pros Can give communities a point of power over a utility Cons Hard to change a very common, decades old agreement with large fixed-in place-assets such as poles and wire. Real…
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Fuel cell

an electrochemical cell that converts the potential energy from a fuel into electricity through an electrochemical reaction of hydrogen fuel with oxygen or another oxidizing agent. Pros Fuel cells allow otherwise combustible gas like hydrogen or natural gas to generate electric with out emitting carbon. Cons The technology has proved to be complicated and hard to scale. Real Talk Fuel cells have the…
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Gasoline

a colorless petroleum-derived flammable liquid that is used primarily as a fuel in spark-ignited internal combustion engines. It consists mostly of organic compounds obtained by the fractional distillation of petroleum, enhanced with a variety of additives.  Pros Energy dense. Cons It's a carbon-producing fossil fuel. Real Talk A transition to 100% renewable energy means finding economical replacements for all uses: cars, lawn mowers and…
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Generation

The process of producing electric energy by transforming other forms of energy; also, the amount of electric energy produced, expressed in kilowatt-hours. Pros Anyone can be a generator of energy. Cons Can be expensive, risky and time consuming to build and operate generation of any size. Real Talk Our future relies on getting as many…
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Geothermal

thermal energy generated and stored in the Earth, that can be used to heat a home or generate electricity. Pros Free fuel source. Cons Not readily available in may places around the world. Real Talk Where accessible like Iceland or North Western US, geothermal energy can be used to generate clean and economical electricity.
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Ground source heat pump

a central heating and/or cooling system that leverages the refrigeration cycle to transfer heat to or from the ground. Pros Uses the Earth's steady internal temperature to condition living and working space. Cons The upfront cost of equipment can be limiting. Real Talk Electricity-based space conditioning can be challenging in really cold places. Using the…
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Heat pump

moves thermal energy in the opposite direction of spontaneous heat transfer, by absorbing heat from a cold space and releasing it to a warmer one. Pros Relatively inexpensive and widely available electric space-conditioning system. Cons Electricity-based space-conditioning can be challenging in really cold places. Real Talk We need this technology for a transition to 100% renewable energy.
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Horizontal integration

the process of a company increasing production of goods or services at the same level of the supply chain. A company may do this via internal expansion, acquisition or merger. Pros Can be a sign of progress, e.g. many of the same type of small, struggling companies consolidate into a bigger one. Cons Can lead to a monopoly. Real Talk It's…
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Hydro energy

kinetic energy in flowing water, which is used to spin a generator that creates electricity. The most common type of hydroelectric power plant uses a dam on a river to store water in a reservoir. Also called hydroelectric power or hydropower. Pros Carbon free energy generation 24/7/365. Cons Can be severely limited by drought leading to increased usage…
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