Renewable Energy : Glossary

There are 82 documents in this section.

  • Landfill

    26 September 2001

    A site designated for disposal of solid or chemical wastes by burial. It may be essentially an open pit or a highly-engineered facility that includes special linings to prevent wastes from leaking into water supplies.

  • Montreal Ozone Agreement

    26 September 2001

    An agreement signed by 24 nations in 1987 (and since then endorsed by more than 30 others), that set a timetable for the reduction of chlorofluocarbon and halon production levels by 50 per cent by the year 2000 to control damage to the ozone layer. The Montreal Ozone Agreement is considered a model of the global environmental diplomacy needed to address the more complex issue of the greenhouse effect.

  • Negawatts

    26 September 2001

    A term coined by energy analyst Amory Lovins to signify that a unit of energy saved is exactly equivalent to an additional unit of energy supplied. If it is cheaper for a utility to save energy than to generate an equivalent amount of additional energy, the utility has more incentive to invest in negawatts than in megawatts.

  • Ozone

    26 September 2001

    An unstable and chemically-reactive gas containing three oxygen atoms, formed at high altitudes by the action of sunlight on molecular oxygen. Present at low concentration in the stratosphere, ozone absorbs ultraviolet radiation from the sun and reduces the amount of this damaging radiation that reaches the Earth's surface. Ozone is also formed at ground level - by the interaction of sunlight with exhaust gases from automobiles and industry, and by the action of sunlight on nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons-where it is a primary component of smog that aggravates breathing problems and damages plants.

  • Ozone hole

    26 September 2001

    A popular name given to a phenomenon discovered in 1987, when scientists measured unexpectedly low ozone concentrations in the stratosphere above the South Pole during the Antarctic spring. It is now generally accepted that the loss of stratospheric ozone is caused by chemical reactions initiated by chlorofluorocarbons.

  • Pollution

    26 September 2001

    An undesirable contaminate (gas, liquid, noise, solid) which has been released into, and is now a part of, the environment.

  • Solar thermal energy

    26 September 2001

    Energy produced by using the sun's rays to heat a gas or liquid that then performs useful work, such as powering an electrical generator. Electricity from solar thermal power plants is now nearly competitive in cost with electricity from conventinal fossil-fuel power plants.

  • Utility

    26 September 2001

    A public or private company that supplies a basic service to the general public, such as electricity, gas, or water.

  • Bio-gas

    8 August 2001

    A combustible gas (composed primarily of methane) produced when sewage or manure is fermented in the absence of oxygen. The solid material that remains in the digester after fermentation can be used as an organic fertilizer.

  • Cogeneration

    8 August 2001

    A facility in which two or more forms of energy are generated simultaneously or interchangeably. Commonly, a cogeneration facility produces steam for an industrial or commercial process and uses some of the steam to turn a turbine that generates electricity. Another type of cogeneration arrangement combines several energy sources in a single facility to provide a mix of energy forms (heat, electricity, etc.) in varying proportions according to the needs of the energy users.