Select Committee on European Communities Twelfth Report


Specialised terms and abbreviations


Watt  The basic measure of electrical power, being the rate of energy transfer equivalent to 1 ampere of electric current flowing under a pressure of 1 volt.

kV  Kilovolt: one thousand volts.

kW   Kilowatt: one thousand watts of electricity - the power consumption of a 1 bar electric fire.

kWh  Kilowatt hour: one thousand watt-hours, or 1 kW supplied for 1 hour - the normal unit of electricity supply for domestic purposes.

MW  Megawatt (1,000 kW)

GW  Gigawatt (1,000 MW) - the output of a typical large coal-fired power station.

TW  Terawatt (1,000 GW - or a million Megawatts)

MWh  Megawatt-hour (1,000 kWh)

GWh  Gigawatt-hour (1,000 MWh)

TWh  Terawatt-hour (1,000 GWh - or a million Megawatt-hours)


g/kWh  grams per kilowatt-hour - used to measure the emissions caused by the generation of one unit of electricity.

MtC  Megatonne of carbon - used as a measure of carbon emissions.

Mtoe  Megatonne of oil equivalent - used to measure equivalence between different energy sources.

p/kWh  pence per kilowatt-hour - the cost or price of a unit of electricity.


BPVA  British Photovoltaic Association.

BWEA  British Wind Energy Association.

CAP  Common Agricultural Policy.

CHP  Combined heat and power.

CO2  Carbon dioxide.

CoREA  Confederation of Renewable Energy Associations.

CPRE  Council for the Protection of Rural England.

DETR  Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions.

DfID  Department for International Development.

DG XII & DG XVII  Directorates-General XII (Science, Research and Development) and XVII (Energy) of the European Commission.

dnc  Declared net capacity.

DTI  Department of Trade and Industry.

EdF  Electricité de France.

ETSU  Energy Technology Support Unit.

EWA  Energy from Waste Association.

LFG  Landfill Gas.

LGA  Landfill Gas Association.

MAFF  Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

MEP  Member of the European Parliament.

MoD  Ministry of Defence.

MSW  Municipal solid waste.

NFFO  Non-Fossil Fuel Obligation arrangements in England and Wales (in this Report, though, also including the Scottish SROs and Northern Ireland's NI-NFFOs unless indicated otherwise).

NFPA  Non-Fossil Purchasing Agency.

NGO  Non-Governmental Organisation.

NIE  Northern Ireland Electricity.

NI-NFFO  NFFO arrangements in Northern Ireland.

OFFER  Office of Electricity Regulation.

PV  Photovoltaics.

R-122  ETSU's supporting analysis published alongside DTI's March 1999 consultation document New and Renewable Energy: prospects in the UK for the 21st century.

R&D  Research and development.

RETA  Review of Electricity Trading Arrangements.

RSPB  Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

SRO  Scottish Renewables Order - NFFO arrangements in Scotland.

STPG  Severn Tidal Power Group.

WWF  The World-Wide Fund for Nature.


Base load  The minimum load on the electricity system, normally met by the most cost-effective generation.

Biogas  A methane-rich gas produced during the anaerobic decay of organic matter.

Combined heat and power or cogeneration

  The production of electrical energy and another form of useful energy (such as heat or steam) through the sequential use of energy.

Declared net capacity  See paragraph 173 of this Report.

Embedded generation  Generation connected to a regional rather than the national distribution network - see paragraph 184 of this Report.

Landfill gas  Biogas (qv) from rubbish in landfill sites.

Load Factor  The ratio of the electrical energy produced by a generating unit for the period of time considered to the electrical energy that could have been produced at continuous full-power operation during the same period.

Net Metering  Arrangement whereby small-scale generators of renewable electricity receive payment for surplus electricity exported to the distribution system at the same unit rate they pay as normal domestic consumers when their own generation falls short of their needs. Such consumers are thus charged only for their net consumption - the difference between their imports and exports. Because the effect is as if the electricity meter runs in reverse while electricity is being exported, this is sometimes known as "reverse metering".

Non-Fossil Fuel Obligation  Orders made under the Electricity Act 1985 providing for generators of electricity from renewable sources to receive higher prices for their electricity.

Primary energy  The total energy contained in all the original fuel sources used. This discounts inefficiencies in converting those primary sources into electricity, heat or mechanical power.

Pool price  A measure of the market price of electricity - see paragraphs 10-12 of Appendix 4.

Reverse metering  See "net metering" above.

Technical potential  The theoretical potential of the resource - see paragraph 166 of this Report.

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