Knowledge is power. Find the definitions of terms related to electricity and energy in this comprehensive glossary.

absolute zero:
Absolute Zero (0 Kelvin) is the temperature at which there is a total absence of heat.
abundant:
having more than enough of plenty of resources (such as energy).
ampere:
The base unit of electrical current, abbreviated as amp or A.
atom:
A unit of matter, the smallest unit of an element, containing a nucleus of protons and neutrons orbited by electrons.
baghouse:
A structure that collects mercury and other particulates that are by-products of combustion for proper disposal rather than releasing these into the air.
base load:
The amount of power required to meet minimum demands based on reasonable expectations of customer requirements.
biomass:
Plant and other renewable organic materials used for fuel.
bucket truck:
a large truck with a "Bucket" that lifts workers up to high places to work on power lines or trim trees.
building shell:
The basic structure of the home including the floor, walls, and roof.
capacitor:
A piece of equipment that stores electricity, like a battery, and can release the electricity into the system to meet increased demands on the system.
carbon dioxide:
A colorless, odorless greenhouse gas produced by respiration, combustion, or the decomposition of organic material.
Celsius:
the metric system unit of measure for temperature.
CFL bulb:
a compact fluorescent lamp (CFL), also called a compact fluorescent light, energy-saving light and compact fluorescent tube, is a fluorescent lamp designed to replace an incandescent lamp.
chain reaction:
continuing series of nuclear fission events that take place within the fuel of a nuclear reactor. Neutrons produced by a split nucleus collide with and split other nuclei causing a chain of fission events.
chemical energy:
Energy stored in the chemical bonds of a molecule which, when released, can do work.
circuit:
Complete loop of conducting material, with or without switches and resistors, that allows electrical current to flow.
circuit breaker:
An automatic switch that stops the flow of electric current in an overloaded or stressed circuit.
closed circuit:
a complete path allowing electric current to flow.
combined cycle:
A generating unit that uses heat released from a combustion turbine to turn water into steam, which is then used to turn a steam turbine, increasing the efficiency of the power plant.
combined cycle plant:
a plant that uses a combustion turbine/generator (works like a jet engine) and then uses the hot exhaust gasses to boil water for a second turbine/generator.
combustion gas:
The gases released during the combustion process, such as carbon dioxide, fumes, smoke, and particulates.
condensation:
Condensation is a phase change from a gas (water vapor) to a liquid (water).
conduction:
The transfer of energy between objects that are touching, or in contact.
conductor:
A material that allows the flow of energy, usually in the form of electricity or heat.
conservation:
using less energy because of a change in your behavior, such as turning of the lights when you are not in a room.
conservation:
using less energy because of a change in your behavior, such as turning of the lights when you are not in a room.
control rods:
devices that can be raised and lowered in the reactor core to absorb neutrons and regulate the speed of a chain reaction.
cooling tower:
structure in some power plants to remove heat from water in the condenser. The cooling tower prevents thermal pollution of lakes and rivers.
cost-recovery:
To recover the purchase and maintenance costs of an asset that provides a service.
current:
The rate of flow of electric charge through an object or material.
demand:
The amount of an item or service that consumers desire, in exchange for which they are willing to pay a specific price.
distribution:
The system of power lines, poles, substations, and transformers that transmit electricity from distribution substations to consumers' homes and businesses.
economic dispatch:
The process we use to determine which units at which power plants to run.
efficient:
Performing the intended task with the least waste.
electrical energy:
A form of energy that is generated by the flow of electric charge through a conductor.
electricity:
energy that is used to light our lights and provide power to our homes.
electromagnetic energy:
A form of energy that is emitted from an object as electrical and magnetic waves, which are also known as electromagnetic radiation.
electromagnetic field:
A physical field produced by moving electrically charged objects.
electromagnetic induction:
the ability for magnets to create an electric current and the ability for currents to create an electric field.
electron:
The negatively charged particle in an atom. The movement of electrons is what we call electricity.
energy:
The ability to do work.
energy efficiency:
using energy wisely by turning off lights when we leave a room, using the best bulbs turning off the water when we are brushing our teeth, taking short showers and not holding the refrigerator door open for a long time, being energy-efficient saves money and helps conserve our natural resources.
energy transformation:
a change from one form of energy to another.
evaporation:
Evaporation is the process in which a liquid is converted to a gas by adding heat.
fault:
Any abnormal flow of electric current, including a short circuit, when the electricity bypasses the load entirely, or an open-circuit fault, when a part of the circuit fails or is damaged, breaking the circuit.
fissile:
(of an atom or element) able to undergo nuclear fission.
fission:
A nuclear reaction in which atoms are split as they absorb neutrons, releasing different atoms, extra neutrons, and heat.
fossil fuels:
fuels made from material that formed hundreds of millions of years ago; fuels include coal, petroleum and natural gas.
friction:
The resistance to motion of two moving objects or surfaces that touch.
fusion:
A nuclear reaction in which energy, usually heat, is applied to combine or fuse atoms together.
generation:
the portion of the energy industry dedicated to producing electricity from a multitude of sources through many different transformation processes.
generator:
A device that converts mechanical energy into electricity.
heat:
thermal energy that is released through the motion of atoms and molecules.
heat energy:
The transfer of energy from one thing to another by kinetic energy, usually causing a higher temperature.
heat transfer:
Property of heat that causes it to move from the hotter object to the cooler object.
humidity:
The amount of water vapor that is carried in the air.
HVAC:
Stands for: Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning. Equipment that helps control the amount of heat energy in your home's conditioned space.
Incandescent Bulb:
traditional or "regular" light bulb: invented over 130 years ago.
innovation:
the process of altering or expanding upon an existing product, system, or idea to improve it.
insulator:
A material that resists the flow of energy.
invention:
the creation of a new and unique product.
isotope:
one of two or more forms of a chemical element having the same number of protons, or the same atomic number, but having different numbers of neutrons, or different atomic weights.
kilowatt:
One thousand watts, a measurement of electrical power that is obtained by multiplying the voltage by the amperage, W = V × I.
kilowatt-hours:
Kilowatts used over a one-hour period. Abbreviated as kWh.
kinetic energy:
Energy of an object in motion.
latent heat:
Heat released or absorbed that results in a change in state but not in a change in temperature.
Law of Conservation of Energy:
A law of physics that states that the total amount of energy in an isolated system remains constant over time.
life:
the total number of hours a bulb will work before having to be replaced.
Light-Emitting Diode:
known as a "LED;" has the same lumens per watt as a CFL, but has a significantly longer lifespan than that of a CFL.
lignite:
A brownish-black fossil fuel generally used for electric power. Often referred to as brown coal.
lineman:
a person who works on power lines.
load:
Anything that uses energy provided by a circuit. Examples include appliances, electronics, and lights.
lumens:
the brightness of a light.
mastic:
A high-grade construction adhesive.
mastic sealant:
A flexible, durable sealant.
mechanical energy:
The sum of an object's potential and kinetic energies, and the object's ability to do work.
millirem:
unit of radiation dosage equal to one thousandth of a rem. The average American receives about 360 per year from all sources.
municipal solid waste:
Commonly known as trash, garbage, rubbish, or refuse, which is discarded every day by homes and businesses then collected by local government or waste management services for disposal.
neutron:
A particle in an atom that has a neutral charge (not positive or negative).
non-renewable:
A resource that can't be replenished quickly or easily, and is used up faster than it can be produced. Examples include oil and coal.
NOx:
Nitrogen oxides, which are greenhouse gases that contribute to smog and acid rain.
nuclear energy:
The energy released by a nuclear reaction, especially fission (splitting) or fusion (combining) of atoms.
ohm:
A unit of electrical resistance that is the ratio of voltage to current. Often written as the Greek symbol omega (Ω).
Ohm's Law:
The relationship between voltage, resistance, and current, written as V=IxR.
open circuit:
an incomplete path that does not allow electric current to flow.
ownership share:
Georgia Power co-owns several power plants, along with other co-owners. This means that Georgia Power shares the ownership, costs, and electricity that are generated with the other co-owners.
parallel:
A circuit in which there are multiple paths for the electricity to flow, so that when one of the paths is blocked or broken, electricity can still flow through another path.
particulate:
Small, separate particles, often a granular substance or powder.
peak supply:
Supply of energy used primarily when demand for electricity is high.
photoelectric effect:
The process by which an electron absorbs enough energy from a light photon to overcome the force binding it to the atom, allowing it to become a free electron.
photon:
A particle of light, which carries energy.
photosynthesis:
life process where plants use sunlight to make their food.
photovoltaic:
A method of generating electricity from sunlight using semiconductors.
potential energy:
the stored energy in an object due to its position; energy at rest.
power:
The rate at which work is performed.
power grid:
The entire system of electricity transmission and distribution from the generating plant to consumers. This includes all transmission and distribution lines and substation equipment, up to and including the customer's meter.
power plant:
a building where enough electricity is made for all the homes and businesses in a large area.
power source:
The source of voltage in a circuit. Examples include power plants, generators, and batteries.
PPE:
personal protection equipment for power workers including hardhat, safety glasses, earplugs, gloves and closed-toe shoes.
proton:
The positively charged particle in an atom. The number of protons in an atom of any element determines its atomic number on the periodic table of the elements.
radiant energy:
Any energy that forms or moves in waves of radiation, such as light or electromagnetic energy.
radiant heat:
When heat moves through an environment in waves as it disperses from a source.
radiation:
The emission or transfer of energy, such as heat or light, through a medium or space.
rates:
Prices paid by customers for using energy provided by utility companies.
relative humidity:
The way moisture acts and feels at a certain temperature.
rem:
unit of radiation dosage (such as from X rays) applied to humans. Derived from the phrase Roentgen equivalent man, the rem is now defined as the dosage in rads that will cause the same amount of biological injury as one rad of X rays or gamma rays.
renewable:
A resource that can be replenished quickly or easily, and is not used up faster than it reproduces. Examples include water and plants.
resistance:
The opposition to the flow of current through any medium.
resistor:
A part of a circuit that opposes the flow of current, often transforming the energy to heat and/or light, such as in a light bulb. Sometimes referred to as the load.
returns:
The return on investment made by shareholders.
rotational energy:
Part of an object's kinetic energy due to the rotation of the object.
rotor:
the rotating part of a generator.
semiconductor:
A material with electrical conductivity between that of a conductor and an insulator, which can be manipulated by adding impurities to their construction to change their conductivity.
sensible heat:
Heat exchange that results in a change in temperature.
series:
A circuit in which all parts are in a single path, each following another.
shareholder:
Persons that invest money into a company in return for a portion of ownership in the company.
Smart Choices:
We help you make Smart Choices about how you use energy and how you can save both energy and money while helping the environment at the same time.
Smart Energy:
Southern Company's strategic framework put in place to ensure we are integrating and coordinating our efforts to achieve maximum benefits for our customers and shareholders.
Smart Grid:
Technologies that allow Georgia Power to remotely monitor grid conditions to move power efficiently and isolate problems on the grid, enabling faster restoration.
Smart Power:
At Georgia Power, we generate electricity at power plants across the state. Smart Power means that we are leading the way in the development of cleaner, more efficient, and cost-effective power generation plants and technologies.
solar energy:
the light and heat energy that comes to the earth from the sun that can be used to power homes and businesses with electricity.
solid solution:
A mixture of elements that is solid instead of liquid.
spent fuel:
nuclear fuel elements removed from a nuclear reactor after they have been used to produce power. Spent fuel has a great potential for use as a fuel after reprocessing; thus "used fuel" is a more accurate term.
stator:
the stationary part of a generator.
step down:
To decrease voltage using a transformer.
step up:
To increase voltage using a transformer.
substation:
A location containing a collection of equipment in transmission or distribution systems that step up (increase), step down (decrease), and maintain voltage.
sulfur dioxide:
A gas released from the burning of sulfur compounds, such as those found in coal.
sun:
the big star that can be seen during the day and provides light and heat energy to the Earth.
supply:
The total amount of a good, such as electricity, or service that is available to consumers.
switch:
Part of a circuit that stops the electricity from flowing when it is open, and allows electricity to flow when it is closed.
synthesis gas:
A combustible mixture of gases that contains carbon monoxide and hydrogen which can be used in several processes, including power generation and the creation of synthetic fuels or oils.
temperature:
the absence or presence of heat or electricity.
thermal boundary:
A boundary between all of the conditioned space and unconditioned space in your home.
thermal energy:
The transfer of energy from one thing to another by kinetic energy, usually causing a higher temperature.
thermal expansion:
The tendency of matter to change in volume in response to a change in temperature.
thermometer:
an instrument for measuring temperature.
time, distance, shielding:
the three most important factors for limiting exposure to radiation.
transformer:
A piece of equipment that can increase (step up) or decrease (step down) the voltage in a system. Usually located in substations and on poles.
transmission:
The electricity transportation system between a generating plant and a distribution substation.
transmission lines:
The electricity transportation lines or wires between a generating plant and a distribution substation.
TRIG:
Transport Integrated Gasification, which uses air rather than pure oxygen and lower-grade coal to more affordably convert coal to gas.
turbine:
A spinning mechanical device that extracts energy from a flow of liquid and converts it into useful work.
uranium:
the heaviest element normally found in nature. The fissile isotope uranium-235 is the principal nuclear fuel used in today’s nuclear reactors.
vapor:
Water in the form of a gas.
volt:
The unit of electrical potential difference between points, represented by the letter "V" in equations.
voltage:
A measure of the electrical potential difference between two points.
voltage regulator:
A piece of equipment in an electric substation that maintains a constant level of voltage for distribution to customers.
watt:
A measurement of electrical power that is obtained by multiplying the voltage by the amperage, W = V × I.
watt meter:
device used to measure electric power in watts.
  1. Captain Cautious

    Line Crew - Builds lines so that electricity can get to houses, businesses, schools and hospitals. People who like working outside and building things with their hands really like these jobs.

    Captain Cautious knows a lot about energy!
  2. Dr. E

    Dr. E
  3. Emerald

    Emerald
  4. Savvy and Squander

    Savvy and Squander
  5. Louie

    When you grow up, we can teach you how to be a line worker, plant technician or an engineer.

    However, there are other things you will need to learn along the way: How to get along with others, teamwork, following instructions, telling the truth, completing your work on time and doing a great job on all your work.

    Louie the lightbulb.