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Energy Glossary

Alternative Fuels

Fuels that can be used in place of fossil fuels, such as ethanol, biodiesel, biogas and hydrogen.

Average Demand

The measure of the total of energy loads placed by customers on a system divided by the time period over which the demands are incurred.


A volumetric unit of measure for crude oil and petroleum products equivalent to 42 US gallons. One barrel of oil has an energy content of 6 million British thermal units.

Biomass Energy

Energy produced by the conversion of biomass directly to heat or to a liquid or gas that can be converted to energy.

British Thermal Unit

A unit of measure for the energy content of fuels. One Btu is the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of a pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.

Cap and Trade

An approach to emissions of a given pollutant by setting a limit, or "cap," on the total amount permitted to be released. Industries, utilities, and other groups are required to purchase, or may be given, "credits" that establish allowable quantities of emissions. Unused credits may be sold in a resulting market for trading emissions allowances.

Carbon Commodity Management

The identification and assessment of risks associated with greenhouse gas emissions followed by the application of resources to minimize, monitor and control the probability of unfortunate scenarios.

Carbon Compliance

Acting in accordance with greenhouse gas emissions guidelines established by non-profit organizations, governmental bodies and corporate governance.

Carbon Cost Management

The process of dealing with costs related to greenhouse gas emissions including taxes, offsets and penalties.

Carbon Data Management

Activities related to collecting, verifying, aggregating and reporting on the greenhouse gas emissions of an organization.

Carbon Disclosure Project

An independent, not-for-profit organization holding the largest database of primary corporate climate change information in the world. Summit is an accredited US consultancy partner to the CDP.

Carbon Footprint

The total amount of greenhouse gas emissions caused by an individual, organization, event, nation or product.

Carbon Intensity

The amount of carbon by weight emitted per unit of energy consumed. A common measure of carbon intensity is weight of carbon per British thermal unit (Btu) of energy.

Carbon Management

An organization's approach to tracking greenhouse gas emissions including processes such as collecting data, reducing carbon emissions and hedging carbon risk.

Carbon Offsets

Financial instruments intended to encourage reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

Carbon Project Development

The process of devising and executing greenhouse gas emissions reduction initiatives.

Carbon Reporting

The act of disclosing greenhouse gas emissions data to internal corporate stakeholders, non-profit organizations and government institutions.


Using wasted heat produced by electricity generation to satisfy thermal needs, or processing wasted heat to generate electricity or produce mechanical energy.

Corporate Utility Rebates

Discounts and deductions that utilities offer to their end-user customers to encourage the more efficient use of energy.

Crude Oil

A mixture of hydrocarbons that exists in liquid phase in natural underground reservoirs. It is refined and separated into many different consumer goods, such as gasoline and kerosene.

Demand Response

An end-user's reduction in energy usage during times of high wholesale market prices or when system reliability is jeopardized.

Distillate Fuel Oil

A general classification for one of the petroleum fractions produced in conventional distillation operations. It is used primarily for space heating, on-and off-highway diesel engine fuel and electric power generation.


A process of moving power at lower voltages from substations to customers.

Electric Utility

A corporation, person, agency, authority, or other legal entity with distribution facilities for delivery of electric energy for use primarily by the public. Included are investor-owned electric utilities, municipal and State utilities, Federal electric utilities, and rural electric cooperatives.

Electricity Generation

The process of producing electricity by transforming other forms or sources of energy into electrical energy; measured in kilowatt-hours.


The release or discharge of a substance into the environment; generally refers to the release of gases or particulates into the air.

Emission Factor

A measure of the average amount of a specified pollutant or material emitted for a specific type of fuel or process.

Energy Benchmarking

Developing an accurate model of an organization's energy consumption; data can guide reduction and budgeting efforts.

Energy Budget

The total sum of money set aside for energy procurement over a certain time period.

Energy Conservation

Efforts made to reduce energy consumption by cutting demand, increasing efficiency or reducing usage from conventional energy sources.

Energy Consultant

An expert trained to advise an organization of the best possible choices related to energy procurement, energy risk management, energy sustainability and energy cost reduction.

Energy Consulting

The business associated with advising and leading energy users to the best possible choices related to energy procurement, energy risk management, energy sustainability and energy cost reduction.

Energy Consulting Companies

Businesses dedicated to leading organizations to the best possible choices related to energy procurement, energy risk management, energy sustainability and energy cost reduction, of which Summit is certainly the best.

Energy Cost Reduction

Decreasing the amount of money dedicated to energy procurement and consumption.

Energy Efficiency

The achievement of using less energy without reducing the benefit provided by the end-use service.

Energy Efficiency Projects

Initiatives with the expressed purpose of reducing the amount of energy used to achieve same outcome.

Energy Efficient Building

A facility designed, constructed, operated, maintained and renovated using environmentally responsible and resource-efficient practices.

Energy Management

The strategic efforts related to purchasing and using energy in a cost-effective and sustainable way.

Energy Management Software

A software solution designed to facilitate efforts related to the energy and environmental metrics, particularly in regards to collecting and reporting data.

Energy Market Intelligence

Specific knowledge about the business of energy, including know-how related to commodities, utilities, suppliers, rebates, regulations and alternative energy.

Energy Metering

Measuring the amount of energy consumed by an organization or a particular device to gain an understanding of how energy is used in real-time.

Energy Outsourcing

Contracting out to a third-party the responsibilities associated with energy management.

Energy Price Volatility

A measurement of the price fluctuation in commodities that takes place over a certain period of time.

Energy Procurement

The process of purchasing energy by negotiating with suppliers.

Energy Professionals

Individuals who have expert knowledge about the energy industry.

Energy Purchase Strategy

A plan and method for procuring energy in accordance with an organization's objectives and needs.

Energy Regulatory Requirements

Conditions prescribed by an authority about the the purchase or consumption of energy.

Energy Risk Management

Reducing the prospect of losses associated with energy that will interfere with the execution of a company's business strategy.

Energy Savings

Cost reductions resulting from increased energy efficiency and more cost-effective energy procurement.

Energy Site Assessments

The process of evaluating facilities to determine and implement tactics to reduce energy consumption.

Energy Star

A U.S. government-backed program helping businesses and individuals protect the environment through superior energy efficiency.

Energy Supplier

Any energy company supplying electricity, natural gas, fuel oil, kerosene, or LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) to a household or business.

Energy Sustainability

Sustaining the supply of energy and materials needed to support current levels of consumption, making them available where most needed, and addressing the environmental problems resulting from their extraction, consumption and disposal.

Energy Sustainability Services

The execution of activities related to sustaining the supply of energy and reducing the environmental problems resulting from energy consumption.

Energy Tax Credit

A financial credit provided by the government to reward citizens or businesses for reducing energy use or supporting alternative energy sources.

Forward Contract

A commitment to buy or sell an underlying asset at a specified date at a price determined at the origination of the contract.

Forward Market

Cash market (non-exchange) commitment to delivery of petroleum products or crude at a set price for future delivery.

Fuel Oil

Petroleum products that are burned to produce heat or power.

Fuel Purchase Agreement

An agreement between a company and a fuel provider that stipulates that the company agrees to purchase its fuel from the fuel provider.

Fundamental Analysis

Analysis derived from actual supply and demand factors such as inventories, refinery operations, physical buying patterns, or disruptions in the supply and distribution chain.


A standardized contract for the future purchase or sale of a commodity on a formalized exchange.

Generating capacity

A power plant’s ability to produce a specific amount of electricity at a specific moment in time; measured in kilowatts or megawatts.

Global Energy Data Management

Processes associated with gathering, organizing and analyzing information about the consumption of energy on a global scale.

Green Certificates

Tradable, non-tangible energy commodities in the United States that represent proof that 1 megawatt-hour of electricity was generated from an eligible renewable energy resource. Also known as RECs, green tags, green certificates and renewable energy certificates.

Green Power

Energy produced from renewable or non-polluting sources and non-hazardous technologies.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The gases responsible for trapping heat from the sun within the Earth's atmosphere. The six GHGs recognized and regulated by the Kyoto Protocol are: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), Nitrous Oxide (N2O), Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), Perflurocarbons (PFCs) and Sulphurhexafluoride (SF6).

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Data

Information about the volume, source and intensity of greenhouse gas emissions that can be attributed to an organization, nation, individual, product or process.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report

An account describing specific information about greenhouse gas emission volumes and reduction efforts.

Heating Oil

A distillate used for home or commercial heating. Widely used as a synonym for No. 2 fuel oil or diesel.


Hedging is accomplished by protecting one transaction with another as protection against fluctuating prices. A long position can be hedged or protected with an offsetting short position in a related underlying instrument.

Hedging Contracts

Contracts which establish future prices and quantities of energy independent of the short-term market. Derivatives may be used for this purpose.

Interruptible Demand

The amount of customer demand that, in accordance with contractual arrangements, can be interrupted by direct control of the system operator, remote tripping, or by action of the customer at the direct request of the system operator.

Investor Owned Utility (IOU)

A private company that provides a utility, such as water, natural gas or electricity, to a specific service area.


A standard unit of electrical power equal to one thousand watts, or to the energy consumption at a rate of 1000 Joules per second.

LEED Accreditation

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System is a nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings. Administered by the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality.

Liquefied Natural Gas

Natural gas that has been condensed to a liquid, typically by cryogenically cooling the gas to -260 degrees Fahrenheit. Often referred to as LNG.

Load Analysis

Assessing and quantifying the discrete components that comprise an energy load. This analysis often includes time of day or season as a variable.

Load Factor

The ratio of average load to peak load during a specific period of time, expressed as a percent. The load factor indicates to what degree energy has been consumed compared to maximum demand or the utilization of units relative to total system capability.

Load Management

Steps taken to reduce power demand at peak load times or to shift some of it to off-peak times.

Long Position

A position of a futures contract buyer which requires the buyer to accept a delivery unless the contract is liquidated with an offsetting sale.

Natural Gas Consulting

Providing services to organizations around purchasing, hedging and consuming natural gas.

Natural Gas Purchasing

The process of obtaining natural gas by negotiating with suppliers.

Off Peak

A period of time when there is a low demand for electricity on a utility's generation system.

On-site Renewable Generation

Creating energy from renewable sources at the location where all or most of it will be used.

Open Access

A regulatory mandate to allow others to use a utility's transmission and distribution facilities to move bulk power from one point to another on a non discriminatory basis for a cost-based fee.

Peak Demand

The maximum level of operating requirements customer usage places on the system during a specified time.

Peak Shaving

The process of implementing measures to reduce peak power demands on a system.


A complex mixture of various hydrocarbons existing in the liquid state found in natural underground reservoirs. Includes fuel oil No. 2, No. 4, No. 5, No. 6; topped crude; kerosene; and jet fuel.


All parts of the physical facility through which gas is moved in transportation, including pipe, valves, and other equipment attached to the pipe, compressor units, metering stations, regulator stations, delivery stations, holders, and fabricated assemblies.


The rate at which electrical power is transferred by an electric circuit. Power is measured in watts and often expressed in kilowatts (kW) or megawatts (mW).

Power Provider

A company or other organizational unit that sells and distributes electrical power (e.g., private or public electrical utility), either to other distribution and wholesale businesses or to end-users. Sometimes power providers also generate the power they sell.


A company engaged in the production and sale of natural gas from gas or oil wells with delivery generally at a point at or near the wellhead, the field, or the tailgate of a gas processing plant.


A gas that is both present in natural gas and refined from crude oil. It is used for heating, lighting and industrial applications.

Refinery Production

Petroleum products produced at a refinery or blending plant. Published production of these products equals refinery production minus refinery input.

Renewable Energy

Energy derived from resources that are regenerative or for all practical purposes cannot be depleted. Types of renewable energy resources include moving water (hydro, tidal and wave power), thermal gradients in ocean water, biomass, geothermal energy, solar energy, and wind energy. Municipal solid waste is also considered to be a renewable energy resource.

Renewable Energy Credits

Tradable, non-tangible energy commodities in the United States that represent proof that 1 megawatt-hour of electricity was generated from an eligible renewable energy resource. Also known as RECs, green tags, green certificates and renewable energy certificates.

Retail Market

A market in which electricity and other energy services are sold directly to the end-use customer.

Solar Energy

The radiant energy of the sun, which can be converted into other forms of energy, such as heat or electricity.

Sustainability Initiatives

Efforts and approaches that decrease the environmental impacts resulting from energy consumption, which can often lead to cost savings.

Sustainability Management

Devising and implementing the strategy and tactics needed to address the sustainability needs of an organization.

Sustainability Metrics

Conditions by which organizations measure the status and progress of sustainability initiatives.

Sustainability Services

The execution of strategic and tactical efforts related to improving the sustainability of an operation.

Sustainability Software

Software designed to facilitate sustainability management, particularly in regards to collecting and reporting data.

Sustainability Strategy

A plan and method for improving the sustainability of an organization in line with specific objectives and needs.

Technical Analysis

Analysis primarily derived from studying historical buying and selling patterns in futures and spot markets and attempting to predict with reasonable certainty the probability of mimicking those movements again. Technical analysis is often very sophisticated and is probably the single most critical factor in determining day-to-day futures price movements.


The movement or transfer of electric energy over an interconnected group of lines and associated equipment between points of supply and points at which it is transformed for delivery to consumers or is delivered to other electric systems.

Utilities Consulting

The business associated with advising and leading energy users to cost-effective arrangements with energy utilities.

Utilities Management

Facilitating the relationship between an energy user and a utility, which is a corporation, person, agency or authority that owns or operates facilities for the generation, transmission, distribution, or sale of electric energy or natural gas.


A corporation, person, agency, authority, or other legal entity that owns or operates facilities for the generation, transmission, distribution, or sale of electric energy or natural gas.

Utility Bill Auditing

Examining and verifying a company's utility invoices and resolving any errors.

Utility Metering Solutions

Approaches to measuring the amount of energy consumed by an organization or a particular device to gain an understanding of how energy is used in real-time.


A measure of the electric pressure that pushes electric current through a circuit.

Wind Energy

Energy from moving air which is converted to electricity, by using wind to turn electricity generators.

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