The renewable energy sector is such a fast-moving environment that new terms and acronyms appear all of the time. It is also a highly specialised, technologically challenging environment so many terms become everyday expressions.
This section helps to explain some of the terminology used and provides explanation for some of the terms that you may see throughout this website.
Click on the terms and letter options shown opposite to get a clearer insight.
Meaning : In alternating current (AC or ac) the movement of electric charge periodically reverses direction. In direct current (DC), the flow of electric charge is only in one direction.
The abbreviations AC and DC are often used to mean simply alternating and direct, as when they modify current or voltage.
AC is the form in which electric power is delivered to businesses and residences. The usual waveform of an AC power circuit is a sine wave. In certain applications, different waveforms are used, such as triangular or square waves. Audio and radio signals carried on electrical wires are also examples of alternating current. In these applications, an important goal is often the recovery of information encoded (or modulated) onto the AC signal. This ifnormation is from Wikipedia.
See Wikipedia for more information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alternating_Current
Meaning : Renewable fuels derived from purpose grown energy crops and the biodegradable proportion of industrial, municipal, agricultural and forestry residues.
Meaning : The trade association representing the hydroelectric power industry.
Meaning : BREEAM is the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method for buildings. It sets the standard for best practice in sustainable design and has become the de facto measure used to describe a buildings environmental performance.
Meaning : The Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme (CRC) is a new mandatory emissions trading scheme that aims to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted in the UK. This is vital to achieving the UK's overall targets of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 by at least 80% compared to the 1990 baseline.
Meaning : The UK government funded schemes designed to encourage renewable energy generation of heat and electricity:
Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)
Feed-in Tariff (FIT)
Meaning : The production and use of both heat and electrical power from a thermal power station.
Meaning : The UK government department responsible for tackling climate change, overseeing the UK's commitment to carbon reduction and administering the Feed-In Tariff (FIT) and Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) schemes.
Meaning : The energy company distributing power in your area. This is is not your electricity supplier from whom you chose to purchase or sell your electricity to. See http://www.nationalgrid.com/uk/Electricity/AboutElectricity/DistributionCompanies/ for more information.
Meaning : An environmental impact assessment is an assessment of the possible positive or negative impact that a proposed renewable energy development project may have on the environment. Ther EIA usually covers all apsects of the natural, social and economic implications.
Meaning : The Feed-In Tariff applies to small-scale generation of electricity, paying a fixed sum for eligible technologies. The FIT is available only to renewable sources producing up to 5MW of power. Specific rates are set for different technologies and at different scales of installation for those technologies. The contract term is 20 years, 25 years for solar photovoltaic projects: this means that, starting from 2010, British providers of Wind Energy, Hydropower, Energy from Biomass and Anaerobic Digestion eligible for the FIT scheme will be rewarded with a tariff rate guaranteed for the next 20 years - 25 years for Solar PV generators. The FIT made available to generators will be subject to digression. That is, the tariff level available for new generators will decrease annually. The rate of degression will vary by renewable energy technology. Costs for the programme will be borne by all British electricity consumers proportionally: all consumers will bear a slight increase in their annual bill, thus allowing electricity utilities to buy renewable energy generated from green sources at above-market rates set by the government. The new UK's Feed-in Tariff Programme review is scheduled for 2013. When the government review the current Feed-in Tariff in 2012/2013 they are expected to reduce the amount paid out by around 15% and continue to reduce it every 2 years.
Meaning : A geographic information system is a system designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyse, manage and present all types of geographically referenced data. In the simplest terms, GIS is the merging of cartography, statistical analysis and database technology. GIS may be used in archaeology, geography, cartography, remote sensing, land surveying, public utility management, natural resource management, precision agriculture, photogrammetry, rural and urban planning, emergency management, GIS in Environmental Contamination, landscape architecture, navigation, aerial video and localised search engines.
Meaning : Device used to convert direct current (DC) electricity to alternating current (AC), so that it can power domestic appliances or be exported to the grid.
Meaning : The 'International Organization for Standardization' quality standards authority.
Because "International Organization for Standardization" would have different acronyms in different languages ("IOS" in English, "OIN" in French for Organisation internationale de normalisation), its founders decided to give it a short, all-purpose name. They chose "ISO", derived from the Greek isos, meaning "equal". Whatever the country, whatever the language, the short form of the organization's name is always ISO.
Meaning : A kilowatt hour (kWh) is the basic ‘unit’ of electricity as recorded on your electricity meter and charged by your utility company or generated by your renewable energy plant. A typical UK house will use in the region of 4,400kWh of electricity per annum for applications other than heating. Farms, community buildings, schools and other premises are likely to use substantially more.
Meaning : The Lambdatronic system continuously monitors and adjusts combustion and exhaust parameters through the entire burn cycle giving the cleanest burn possible and a very high level of combustion efficiency.
Meaning : The international Measuring Network of Wind Energy Institutes (MEASNET) is a co-operation of institutes which are engaged in the field of wind energy and want to ensure high quality measurements, uniform interpretation of standards and recommendations as well as interchangeability of results.
Meaning : The NOABL wind speed database gives wind speed measurements for whole UK in 1km squares. The data is the result of an air flow model that estimates the effect of topography on wind speed. There is no allowance for the effect of local thermally driven winds such as sea breezes or mountain/valley breezes. The model was applied with 1km square resolution and takes no account of topography on a small scale or local surface roughness (such as tall crops, stone walls, or trees), both of which may have a considerable effect on the wind speed. The data can only be used as a guide and should be followed by on-site wind monitoring measurements for a proper assessment.
Meaning : On 10 March 2011, the Government announced the details of the Renewable Heat Incentive policy to revolutionise the way heat is generated and used in buildings and homes. This is the first financial support scheme for renewable heat of its kind in the world.
Meaning : The voice of wind and marine energy.
Meaning : This is the government's main system of supporting renewable electricity generation. It requires electricity suppliers to source percentage of their sales from renewables (this percentage increases each year). For each megawatt hour of renewable energy they generate, they receive a tradable certificate called a Renewables Obligation Certificate (ROC). Small scale generation is rewarded by the Feed-in Tariff.
Meaning : The UK Government’s Standard Assessment
Procedure for the Energy Rating of Dwellings.
Meaning : WAsP is a PC program for predicting wind climates, wind resources and power productions from wind turbines and wind farms. The predictions are based on wind data measured at stations in the same region. The program includes a complex terrain flow model, a roughness change model and a model for sheltering obstacles.
Meaning : The majority of sites suitable for medium wind will have an annual mean wind speed (AMWS) of between 5.5m/s and 7.5m/s. With the right machine an average mean wind speed of 5m/s is often considered a minimum requirement for effective medium scale wind generation
An inland site on flat open ground may have a AMWS in the region of 4-5m/s.
A good site in an exposed location may have an AMWS in the region of 6m/s.
An exceptional site (e.g. exposed hilltop, coastal location) may have an AMWS of 7m/s or above.
Meaning : WindFarmer is wind energy software used to calculate turbine wake impacts, energy yield, and site conditions for determining turbine suitability. WindFarmer uses wind modeling inputs from WAsP or CFD software. WindFarmer is developed internally by the independent renewable energy consultant GL Garrad Hassan.
Meaning : WindPRO is wind energy software used to model wind farms. Users are able to design wind farms, including wind turbine layout and electrical design. Energy production, turbine noise levels, turbine wake losses, and turbine suitability can be calculated. WindPro uses wind flow modeling inputs from WAsP or CFD software. WindPro is developed by the Danish energy consultant EMD International A/S. WindPRO is trusted by investment banks to create wind energy assessments used to determine financing for proposed wind farms.