Resources: Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Terms

Comprehensive glossary of energy and battery storage system terms

Navigating the ever-changing world of energy systems can be quite the challenge, especially when it feels like a new alphabet soup of acronyms and technical jargon is being served up every day. 

But don’t worry. Peak Power is here to be your guide through this exciting and dynamic landscape. That’s why we’ve put together this comprehensive glossary of terms to help you decode the language of decentralized energy with ease.

Whether you’re browsing or looking for a specific term, we’re here to demystify the language of the energy world!

ARPA-E is the US Department of Energy’s agency that specifically finances innovation and invention in the energy sector, i.e. high-risk, high-reward research and development that transforms the way we generate, store, distribute, and consume energy. It was created in 2007 by executive order to fill the critical gap in American innovation in energy technology. This gap in new ideas and new inventions is caused by the lack of funding opportunities for ideas after their discovery in DOE laboratories/other government facilities. In 2022, the agency has funded over 268 projects that have gone forward into implementation.

Ancillary Services (AS) assist grid operators by complementing generation and transmission pipelines. There are a variety of ancillary services, some built in, such as voltage control, reactive power support, frequency regulation, and system strength tests. Some are supportive in the transmission phase, such as spinning reserves (for instant use and can be dispatched within ten minutes) or black start capability, an emergency backup plan to restart electrical services after a major outage.

AI is a branch of computer science that focuses on making computers think better and problem-solve. AI improves the interpretation of data, identifies formulas that can be updated, and thinks about better ways to do its computations. This means that computers can think and analyze improvements without being explicitly programmed to suggest new formulations. It’s used to make predictions, find patterns in data and learn from experience. AI systems can read text, recognize speech and images, understand language, solve problems, and control physical devices.

In the energy sector, AI is being applied for predictive analytics (such as predicting customer demand), machine learning (such as pattern recognition), and deep learning (such as automation). It can be used, for example, to optimize energy grids in homes or offices, thereby managing energy flows. There are meaningful benefits to using AI in the power sector, including increased reliability, improved production rates, reduced human error, and lowered costs.

AB 802 was passed by the legislature in the state of California, USA. It requires building owners to receive access to their building energy-use data from local utilities in order to track consumption in their buildings. It also illustrates how to comply with state-wide regulations.

Backup Power entails providing auxiliary power sources like generators or energy storage systems to ensure a continuous and reliable electricity supply during grid outages or emergencies.

BOP is the general term used to describe all the necessary equipment and auxiliary systems to transmit and distribute electricity in a plant. This includes substations, transformers, transmission lines, distribution lines, and electrical meters. All these parts are required to ensure a sustainable power supply system, and parts may vary based on the type of facility.

A battery is any device that has two electrodes and stores chemical energy that can be converted into electrical energy. The battery’s electrodes are typically made from metal. Its storable energy is created by a chemical reaction.

There are many types of batteries, including lead acid, alkaline, lithium-ion, nickel-cadmium, and others. A traditional lead acid battery can be found in cars, where a device called the alternator charges the battery when the engine is running and provides power to the car’s electrical system when it’s not.

In essence, you can control energy costs (both for domestic and commercial use) with battery energy storage systems. On a power grid/electrical grid, for example, when electricity demand is low (such as during the late night hours), surplus energy produced in the system can be saved for use later on (for example, during peak periods of consumption).

“Behind-the-Meter” is a term that describes the parts of an energy supply system which come after a building’s electrical meter. BTM systems, like battery storage or microgrids, are connected to a specific building or group of buildings and flow energy into the electrical infrastructure. The parts of an energy supply system on the other side of the electrical meter are referred to as “front-of-the-meter.”

Black Start refers to the ability of a power plant or system to independently restart and restore operations without relying on external power sources after a complete blackout or system failure.

The California Independent System Operator (CAISO) is an agency that manages the electric power grid for almost all of California. CAISO’s directives are threefold: to serve its customers in the wholesale electricity market, encourage clean, affordable energy from various sources within the marketplace, and maintain a secure power grid. They do this by balancing customer demand with available resources.

A non-profit organization committed to accelerating the adoption of green building/sustainable design practices in Canada. They ensure access to tools, education, and certification programs that help Canadians reduce their environmental impact. Peak Power is a member of this group; we share the common goal of sustainable, renewable energy.

When an end-user draws power during the highest supply/peak usage hour(s) of a power grid system, that demand increases the cost per kilowatt-hour. Thus, coincident peak demand charges are set by the power generation companies and distribution system operators for this consumption at peak usage time periods. This allows these companies to provide electricity sustainably by charging the consumer accordingly.

Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) is an electricity supply option for many residential and small-business customers. Customers may choose to purchase their electricity from a third-party provider, called a retail supplier, instead of buying directly from a utility company. CCAs are non-profit entities that aggregate the buying power of individual customers within a region to offer energy at a lower cost. CCAs often have the mandate to provide energy from renewable sources.

A Connection Impact Assessment is a detailed assessment of a specific project or supplementary energy resource (like a solar or wind farm) prepared by the utility prior to approving interconnection. The assessment spotlights the project’s feasibility, technical demands for its operation, and its impact/value-adding to the grid. The CIA also determines any applicable costs to the project proponents if new infrastructure investments are required.

The pricing for power generation, i.e. the cost estimated by the energy producer of generating kilowatt-hours of electricity.

The demand charge is the estimated cost of transmitting and distributing electricity. Unlike energy charges which are typically billed on a $/kWh basis, demand charges are typically billed on a $/kW basis based on a facility’s peak load during the month.

Demand charge management (DCM) is a technique to reduce energy demand at peak periods when prices are high. There are two types of DCM techniques: interruptible loads and on-site generation. Interruptible loads allow us to decrease our power usage during peak hours. This occurs by turning off or limiting the usage of equipment like computers or reducing temperature setpoints during peak hours.

On-site generation refers to generating power near the building premises/on the property where it will be used. Examples include solar panels, wind turbines, and fuel cells. Our clients have an additional way of managing their demand charges with Peak Power. We specialize in providing energy storage solutions for commercial and industrial clients, which reduces the demand charges.

A Demand Management Program (DMP) is a set of initiatives that aim to reduce the peak-hour demands for electricity by influencing consumer behaviour. This program includes, but is not limited to, time-of-use pricing, smart meters, and load shedding.

Peak Power participates in this program in the Con Edison territory in New York. The DMP provides economic incentives for consumers to shift their usage from periods with high electricity demand to periods with low or no demand. For example, during peak periods when energy usage is high, prices are expectedly higher, and consumers are expected to opt out of consumption. This reduces peak demand, reduces the burden on local electricity providers at those times, and allows suppliers to distribute surplus energy resources.

Demand response (DR) is a strategy used by electricity service providers to influence supply and demand in a particular grid system. In DR programs, customers commit to reducing demand when called on by the utility. There is typically a stand-by price for enrolling in the program and an additional payment if you are available to reduce load when called. It is important to note that a demand response program and a demand management program are essentially the same thing.

The Department of Energy (DoE) is a federal department of the United States government and is considered to be the largest consumer of energy in the country. They aim to increase their use of renewable sources such as wind, solar, hydroelectric power generation, biomass/methane gas, and geothermal power.

They are also working on ways to reduce emissions through increasing efficiency standards, developing cleaner fuels for the transportation industry, accelerating clean coal technology development, and investing in hydrogen fuel cells.

Direction of transmission (DOT) is a measure of the cost to move electricity from where it is generated to where it is used. In Canada, the majority of power generation comes from hydroelectric and nuclear energy sources, transmitted through high voltage direct current (HVDC) lines that operate efficiently in all directions. HVDC allows for an electric power grid with no limitations on the direction of the flow of electricity.

Distributed energy resources (DERs) are any form of electricity generation or storage that is not located within a central power plant. They may include solar panels on rooftops, wind farms in the countryside, electric car batteries, and heat pumps.

These sources of energy can be distributed closer to where energy is used because they are generally non-polluting compared to centralized power plants that use fossil fuels. In addition to environmental conservation benefits like reducing greenhouse gas emissions, there are also economic benefits for consumers due to savings on distribution losses and other transmission costs associated with sending power over power lines across large distances.

A distributed energy resource aggregator (DERA) aggregates multiple DERs across various sites within a region to participate in wholesale energy markets, which typically have a minimum size threshold, preventing most DERs from participating on their own. The system operators that manage energy markets do not have visibility into small assets such as DERs, so by aggregating many together, we can participate in energy markets and compete against larger power plants, such as polluting natural gas peaker plants. Not to be confused with Community Choice Aggregators, which is different from a DERA in that a group partners to buy energy.

Distribution Deferral is the strategic delay of investments in new distribution infrastructure by implementing alternative solutions, such as demand-side management or energy efficiency measures, to meet growing demand without immediate capital expenditures.

Distribution network operators (DNOs) are the companies responsible for the delivery of electricity to households and businesses in a particular geographical region. DNOs typically generate their own power supply, distributing it to customers through the national grid. It is their job to ensure that customers have access to an interrupted supply of electricity at an affordable price.

An energy distribution network—the facility, the grid, the seller—is run by the Distribution System Operator (DSO). The DSO can be the owner of the network or operate as a subsidiary of the local, usually state-run, power generation facility.

ERCOT is the primary service provider of electricity to the state of Texas. Interestingly, it does not operate under the federal regulatory body, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

An electric vehicle (EV) is any car, truck, train or plane that uses electrical motors with batteries to power itself. Other electricity-powered vehicles are included in this definition depending on whether they require a driver or they can carry passengers (e.g. drones, golf carts, trams, cable cars or shuttle buses on rail lines).

Ontario’s principal regulatory board, responsible for the implementation of electrical safety codes by setting codes of best practices.

Energy arbitrage is an energy distribution tactic where a service provider will buy and store electrical power during off-peak time periods for redistribution during peak time periods. This creates revenue and reduces the burden on local networks to supply uninterrupted power during peak time periods.

An energy market platform (EMP) refers to a service provider involved in one or more aspects of the energy distribution market. EMPs can now operate via the internet, offering customers digital services for buying electricity and purchasing smart meters and energy-saver technologies, especially analytical research software for commercial entities in the industry. This includes consortiums – various individual energy production companies aggregate their available resources and service a grid or larger area (by supplying to the local utility and/or selling electricity to a nearby city or country).

Energy Star is a program run by the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy that promotes energy efficiency. When a building meets the criteria for energy efficiency, it is given a rating. New construction must conform to the energy-related and/or environmental policies set by authorities and earn an acceptable rating. Sometimes called an EPA Rating or Energy Star Rating, these standardized ratings are publicly known, displayed and encouraged.

ESaaS is a business model where customers are able to enjoy the benefits of energy storage with no up-front costs via a shared savings agreement with the developer.

Commonly known as battery storage or battery energy storage systems (BESS), these allow energy to be stored and used later on. These systems can be linked to a power grid. They can also be independently owned and operated and integrated into a grid network.

An Engineering Procurement Construction (EPC) contract is awarded to a contractor working under a national utility. The EPC contract allows the contractor to begin work on the engineering design and construction and procure specific materials and equipment in order to complete the construction project.

Refers to project plans, infrastructure development, and investment. ESGs combine regulatory codes and approved practices into metrics for screening potential projects so that design and construction comply with energy efficiency regulations.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is an independent board of policymakers that regulates the transmission and distribution of electricity and other energy resources between the individual states of the USA (e.g. crude oil, petrol, natural gas, and hydroelectric power). FERC is tasked with encouraging fair competition and fair pricing in energy markets. The commission reviews proposals to build liquified gas terminals and interstate gas pipelines. It also issues licenses for hydroelectric power plants.

A FIT is a financial instrument—a relative increase in the price of a consumable good—used to encourage investors and small-scale companies involved in renewable energy specifically. It is a monetary incentive: companies that engage in the development of renewable energy and supply to market receive greater returns in revenue. They are typically long-term contracts of ten to thirty years.

FERC 2222 is a national policy of the USA that aims to increase fair competition in the energy industry by allowing DERs to enter the markets of regional energy sectors. It does this by removing obstacles in the wholesale marketplace, such as limitations on who can provide service, what type of DERs are permitted to operate in a given region, and monopolies.

Frequency Regulation involves managing grid frequency in real-time by adjusting power generation or consumption to maintain system stability within acceptable limits.

Front-of-the-meter (FTM) is a classification that groups parts of an energy supply chain as well as energy generation and storage systems that feed the grid and are positioned in front of the meter. Electric power flows from a power plant, a solar farm, or wind turbines along distribution channels (e.g. power cables) into the area’s grid. That electrical power flows through the meter (the counter that measures usage) to the receiver of power. Those parts of the supply chain are classified as front-of-the-meter and function as energy storage, with energy storage capacity ranging from several megawatt-hours to hundreds.

A type of commercial rental agreement where the price of rent is fixed. The tenant does not bear responsibility for costs associated with the property. The landlord pays the insurance and costs of any repairs. This scenario allows a tenant to invest capital in energy conservation, apart from the property’s energy efficiency measures.

All electricity customers in Ontario pay a global adjustment (GA), which covers the cost of building new electricity infrastructure in the province, regulated rates paid to electricity suppliers under contract and the costs of delivering the province’s energy efficiency and conservation programs. A measurement based on several factors impacting sustainable development, primarily energy consumption, its generation, environmental stress, and climate changes. This assessment incorporates information from transnational data sets. By direct implication, it sets aspirational targets and/or benchmarks for energy consumption and management.

The Green Button is a standard protocol practiced in the USA and Canada. It is a system for translating energy usage data into a usable format for consumers. The data is used to understand usage patterns and alter behavior to comply with energy conservation goals.

A comprehensive program of ratings and certifications for all types of commercial buildings (not including residences) aimed at encouraging environmentally-friendly practices. It functions as an internal approach to education, testing, and implementation. The Green Globes, through the Green Building Initiative, provides guidance and upholds particular standards, but the achieving of these standards is driven by a company’s own culture and will to practice energy efficiency.

GRESB is an entity that identifies and upholds environmental, social and governance (ESG) benchmarks for real assets, infrastructure, and development projects. GRESB data can be used to monitor the energy efficiency of investments, engage with managers about compliance, and publicize sustainability discourses in the real asset industry.

The IESO’s Grid Innovation Fund (GIF) provides financial support for innovators in the energy industry of Ontario, Canada. The primary goal is to create ways for consumers to reduce their energy expenses. The Fund awards money to a project. It supports projects that affirm the performance of promising new technologies, practices, and services.

Hour ending is a measure of an hour, or 60 minutes of time, but specifically, a timeframe where the ending hour is at its 00 starting point. Example: the time period from 02:00 AM to 03:00 AM is the hour ending 3, or HE3.

The commodity price of electricity is calculated in context, derived from the relevant intersecting variables like temperature, peak usage price-setting, and energy demand responses. The IESO calculates this price as the Hourly Ontario Energy Price (HOEP). It does this by averaging twelve market-clearing prices (MCP) set in that hour period. Averages are weighted by the amount of electricity used throughout the province within each hour. For large-scale power generation companies, the HOEP is especially important, as these entities are charged differently from the normal commodity price.

Hydro is the popular, common term for electricity in Ontario. This is due to the layperson’s understanding that most of their electricity is generated by hydroelectric power plants/hydroelectric dams.

HONI transmits and distributes electrical power from the generation sites throughout the entirety of Canada.

The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) operates across the electricity industry of Ontario: it is an independent, not-for-profit agency that regulates the power system in real time, planning for the province’s future energy demand needs. IESO is also tasked with incentivizing conservation and designing a more efficient marketplace to support advancement in the province’s electrical energy sector.

In the energy sector, there are independent companies that organize and operate distribution channels to supply electrical power to regional grids. They do not form part of the state-owned utility, are not typically owner-operators, but may be subsidiaries that operate autonomously (this ensures diversity and competition in the marketplace, as well as greater access to electricity for those outside major cities/beyond the jurisdiction of metropolitan areas).

 Some examples are the IESO, CAISO, ISO-NE, and NYISO.

The IIOT refers to a network of installed computer devices, sensors and actuators which improve the understanding and performance of industrial machines and processes. The technology gathers data and conducts analysis.

Capacity tags are assigned to each consumer in a grid network according to their demand during the system’s highest peak hour. This demand is then translated to their interval meter as the capacity tag for the following calendar year.

The Internal Rate of Return (IRR) is an annual statistic of the projected rate of growth of an investment.

The term refers to a network of devices connected to each other and an information cloud/data centre. These items are able to connect and share data.

Independent System Operator New England (ISO-NE) is a transmission organization that services six states in the USA: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

A unit measure for the rate of electricity consumed by a machine or building. A kilowatt is 1000 watts of electrical power.

The Kilowatt-hour is the total amount of electrical power consumed in one hour. If the rate of usage is 1kW, then after an hour, an appliance would draw and use 1000 watts.

LEED is a popular green energy/set of environmental standards for property developers, investors, and building owners to comply with energy conservation best practices. “LEED helps investors meet their ESG goals by providing investors with the robust and globally recognized green building framework to measure and manage their real estate performance.”

A local distribution company (LDC) is responsible for transmitting, connecting, and disconnecting energy to a home or business. The company operates in the local marketplace, performing services like taking readings and maintaining a facility’s electricity or gas meter. An LDC may also maintain the transmission cables and other related equipment used to transmit electricity or gas to the consumer.

The general unit price of electricity at any given hour determined by the generation company in that region.

First launched in 2010, Ontario’s Long-Term Energy Plan (LTEP) was a policy and implementation program that phased out coal-fired electricity generation. It was a future-facing, 20-year initiative that sought consultation from the consumer-public, indigenous communities, and stakeholders in the energy and environmental sectors. After its third update, it was retired as a provincial program, having achieved a cleaner energy industry, eliminating about 90% of emissions from the system.

The LAGBC is an organization that exists in tandem with the federally operational US Green Building Council and its global counterparts. Based upon the State of California’s own Green Building Code, it is a commitment to southern Californian community upliftment to using green technologies in the long-term and in the short-term, safeguarding energy resources. The LAGBC deliberates on sustainability practices and goals. It publicizes acceptable standards for designing, constructing, and equipping buildings in their LAGBC Code.

The LCIF is a now-retired program whose aims and initiatives are incorporated within Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan. Funded by proceeds from the province’s carbon market, the LCIF assisted researchers, entrepreneurs, and existing companies in creating competitive technologies that are low in carbon emissions. This initiative was a driver for Ontario to meet global goals for reducing industrial emissions.

In computer science, machine learning (ML) refers to developing computer processors to think and improve their ways of processing data by learning from experience. This can improve accuracy in calculations, and the means by which measurements are computed.

The MEF is a statistical number that represents the changes in carbon emissions as a result of influencing changes in demand and/or reducing emissions in power generation. It can be used in predictions by modulating the demand load.

A megawatt (MW) is a unit measure of electrical energy that represents one million watts outputted during one hour of time. This measure is used to calculate usage on a large-scale, such as the output/power generation of a power plant or nuclear reactor.

The megawatt-hour is the total amount of electrical power consumed in one hour. If the rate of usage is 1 MW, then after an hour, an appliance would draw and use 1,000,000 watts.

The MENDM was formerly responsible for the province of Ontario’s parks, forests, fisheries, wildlife, minerals, natural waters, and energy. It was then partitioned into two departments: one exclusively managing energy and the other responsible for forests, mines, and natural resources. The “northern development” part refers to its mandate to liaise with other North American provincial and national governments.

A modified gross lease is a type of rental agreement where the tenant pays an initial amount but takes on a proportion of other property costs over time (for example, property tax, utility payments on water or energy consumption, insurance, and/or maintenance). Modified gross leases are typical for commercial property owners with multiple tenants.

NRCan is a Canadian governmental department that was formed by merging the departments of Forestry, Energy, Mines, and Resources. The department administers federal regulations, manages natural resources like forests, minerals, and metals, and liaises with other North American governments. Their core aim is to manage natural resources sustainably.

The New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology Consortium was established in 2010. This diverse collective includes manufacturers, academics, power generation companies, developers of technology and materials, start-up teams, government departments, engineering firms, and end-of-the-line consumers. The majority of its members are domiciled in New York. They work together to operate as an expert resource group for companies and organizations participating in the energy sector of New York.

The New York Independent System Operator is an independent, non-profit ISO responsible for the state of New York’s electricity grid network. It ensures competitive pricing in electrical energy markets. It is also responsible for determining and upgrading the state’s infrastructure.

NYSERDA is a public-service organization operating in the state of New York, USA. They provide general and expert information on energy efficiency, renewable energies, and cost-reduction for end-users.

Also known as demand charge management, where a grid system supplier allows battery-stored energy to supplement the supply to end-users during the period of their peak demand. This shifts them from peak demand charges in that time period to one of lower cost per kWh. This helps reduce their overall cost of energy.

Ontario’s independent energy regulator, the OEB, serves the public interest. It discusses and codifies rules that ensure consumers are treated fairly, provides oversight on how electricity companies operate, and that the energy system is reliable and sustainable.

The OPA was an independent, non-profit entity reporting to Ontario’s Department of Energy. It was merged with Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) in 2015, with the mandate of forecasting Ontario’s energy supply and demand, assessing the existing infrastructure, promoting integration between generation, transmission, and storage aspects in grid systems, and aligning the province with conservation and sustainability practices.

With hydroelectric, solar, oil, gas, nuclear, and biomass varieties of power generation, the OPG is one of the largest power producers on the North American continent.

Operating reserve is surplus electrical energy (redistributed resources), or energy stored in batteries and fuel cells, deployed in instances where demand increases sharply or renewable sources like wind or solar decrease in output. “Power systems must always provide some amount of operating reserve because the electric load tends to jump around randomly.” The operating reserve is calculated by subtracting the electrical load from the operating capacity.

Companies that provide energy reserves must be able to deploy within an acceptable timeframe and sustain for at least one hour. Peak Power is currently dispatching the Bruce Power battery for this market-related program.

A holding company operating in Oshawa, whose activity centres around electricity generation and distribution through their subsidiary, Oshawa Power, fibre-optic networks through Durham Broadband, and renewable energy generation assets through 225112 Ontario Inc.

When a building’s electrical system is designed, it estimates the peak demand that is drawn when energy consumption is at its highest (usually calculated using 15-minute, 30-minute, or 1-hour periods across a month to arrive at an accurate average total). Electricity utility companies will charge individual consumers by gauging their peak periods of usage and estimate the price of watts per hour accordingly.

A customer’s PDF is based on their percentage contribution during the top five peak hours of a given power grid. This is typically calculated over a 12-month period (base period). The percentage, or demand factor, is then used to adjust their usage charges in the following period.

Peak load is the highest usage – also known as peak usage – by a consumer during a specific period of time identified by the energy suppliers/power generation companies. Peak load is the opposite of base load (the lowest amount of energy consumed during that same period).

PJM Interconnection is a regional transmission organization (RTO): its mission is to secure the safety and reliability of bulk electrical systems. It aims to provide technical expertise, cost-efficiency solutions, and create open, dynamic electricity markets. It operates in more than 13 states of the USA: Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) is a financial mechanism used in many parts of the world. PACE helps property owners implement energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. The owner receives remuneration and/or benefits from their local authority, and their property taxes are adjusted over a period of time (costs associated with utility payments, estate taxes and/or rates due to local government, etc.).

An RTO is involved in the transmission phase of an energy supply system. Its operations are centered on monitoring the transmission of electrical power by providing adequate checks and balances (system controls). Testing and safety are also primary concerns, as an RTO can operate in interprovincial and interstate networks.

Resource adequacy refers to a utility’s capacity—having enough generated resources to satisfy the projected demand load of a particular region being supplied. It also includes generating energy reserves as a requirement of supply contracts.

The SDG&E transmits and distributes energy in the forms of natural gas and electricity to more than 3 million consumers in San Diego and Orange County (cities in southwest California). It is owned by a holding company called Sempra (based in San Diego).

SREP is an NRCAN-managed funding program that incentivizes smart-grid projects that facilitate the transition from unsustainable energy to renewable resources. It boasts a grand total of up to $25,000,000 in support over several years. Some of the key components of this type of funding are providing knowledge and empowerment to communities and end-users, job creation, diversity in labor and hiring practices, and building more capacity to increase reliability.

SaaS is a service model whereby customers can access and use software programming through a digital platform without buying, downloading, installing, and managing software on their personal equipment. SaaS uses cloud server technology to deliver computer applications to end-users.

Spinning/Non-Spinning Reserve distinguishes between immediately available power generation capacity (spinning reserve) connected to the grid and ready for deployment, and reserve capacity that can be brought online quickly (non-spinning reserve) to address sudden increases in demand or unexpected power plant failures.

The state of charge (SOC) of a battery cell reflects its capacity that is available for use, measured against the rated capacity. When the SOC is rated at 100%, a battery cell is said to be fully charged. When the SOC is rated at 0%, the battery cell is completely discharged.

SSME refers to a version of battery storage technology specific to Peak Power. It utilizes battery storage from a stationary system, or it can be mobile (attached to a truck or special vehicle, or enclosed within a mobile trailer or towable apparatus).

Sustainable development is popularly regarded as commerce and development that meets the present need (consumption) without diminishing the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Regarding energy specifically, it is the advancement of best practices for industrial activity aligned with the clean or green energy ideals of conserving the environment. It encourages predictive and pragmatic research, minimizing risk and using renewable sources of energy.

SEUs are community-driven models for energy transitions toward greater efficiency and renewable resources. They are intended to operate autonomously from the government or regional utility or DSO. Thus, an SEU should be financially self-sustaining. Being community-driven, the public would select their preferred renewable energy sources to invest in long-term.

A System Impact Assessment (SIA) is a type of evaluation done to assess the impact of a particular DER or other AS provider on the power grid it would be connected to or the impact of a potential modification to an existing connection. These impact assessments look at how the integration may affect the reliability of the system.

A TWh, or terawatt-hour, is a unit measure of electrical energy that represents one trillion watts outputted during one hour of time. This measure is large enough to calculate usage on the national or continental scale (such as calculating a single country’s energy demand).

Time of Use Bill Management involves strategically controlling and optimizing energy consumption patterns to minimize costs by adjusting usage during different time periods, such as shifting activities to lower-rate periods and reducing demand during peak-rate hours.

T&D, together or separately, are terms for parts of an energy system circuit. Transmission refers to the moving of energy resources from generation sites to operators in grid networks. This includes management and contingency planning.

Distribution refers to the apportioning of electrical supply and delivering it to end-users. Primary concerns are the capacity to store and/or deploy, as well as utilizing infrastructure without major debilitation.

Transmission Congestion Relief includes measures taken to alleviate bottlenecks or congestion in the transmission system, enhancing the efficient flow of electricity and preventing disruptions.

Transmission Deferral involves postponing investments in new transmission infrastructure through alternative solutions like grid optimization or distributed energy resources to address capacity constraints.

Within an energy grid’s immediate and broader network, there is the transmission of energy, such as petroleum, chemicals, gas and/or electrical power from their sources, along channels like pipelines and high-voltage cables. The transmission system operators secure, manage, and upgrade such infrastructure for local and regional transmission of power.

A triple net lease is a type of rental agreement whereby the tenant is contractually obligated to pay all the expenses of the leased property (real estate taxes, insurance, maintenance costs, rent and utility bills).

Provided by the local utility company, UIPs offer financial incentives to end-users to implement energy-efficiency programs, retrofit, and upgrade their property’s energy infrastructure. It can be in the form of rebates, tax mitigation, or direct funding for projects.

Vehicle Grid Integration (VGI) is an umbrella term for any technology or interactivity that allows interconnection between EVs and an electrical power grid.

Vehicle-to-grid (V2G) refers to technology that allows car batteries to flow electrical power back to the power grid when necessary. An end-user or grid operator can treat connected vehicles as high-capacity batteries/backup storage cells for the electrical grid.

In the case of Peak Power’s Peak Drive program, EVs are BTM-connected, i.e., behind a building’s electrical meter, and so, technically, “vehicle-to-building” (V2B).

Vehicle-to-home (V2H) refers to an energy system network connection that allows for a two-way power flow between an EV and a residential building. This means that a fully charged EV can be used as an energy saver, i.e., the energy stored in your EV battery can be redirected into your home’s electrical system during a grid’s peak period, lessening your demand total and reducing overall demand charges.

A virtual power plant (VPP) is a network of remote, stand-alone power generation sources and distributors acting in concert as one facility (to consistently provide a large-enough supply). The participants are integrated using IoT devices.

Voltage Support refers to providing additional power to regulate and maintain voltage levels on the electricity grid, ensuring the quality and reliability of the electrical supply.

The Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program (ZEVIP) is a multimillion-dollar initiative by NRCAN, which concludes in 2027. The goal is to popularize vehicles/transportation that have a near-zero contribution of harmful pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions. Administered by NRCAN, the main thrust is to resolve the lack of charging and refuelling stations in Canada. This encourages companies and consumers to access, choose to use, and innovate electric and/or battery-powered EVs securely.


This glossary provides a quick guide to terminology and technical language that will help you understand the ever-evolving world of energy. Are we missing a term you think we need to add, or have suggestions on definitions?  Email us at

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