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Abatement - The process of reducing pollution and its negative impacts on the environment.

Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) - An integrated system of smart meters, communications networks, and data management systems that enables two-way communication between utilities and customers.

Aggregate Power Demand - The total amount of electricity utility customers consume within a period.

Air barrier - Any material that restricts air flow well.

Air Quality Index (AQI) - A color-coded scale for reporting daily air quality.

Air Quality Standard (AQS) - Maximum allowed levels of air pollutants set by the U.S. EPA to protect public health.

Alternating Current (AC) - Type of current in which the flow of electric charge reverses direction frequently, allowing the voltage to change.

Alternative Energy - Renewable energy derived from non-fossil fuels (see, Renewable Energy).

Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) - A vehicle that runs on alternative fuels. This includes FFVs, EVs, as well as the conversion of traditional fuel vehicles to run on alternative fuels. Learn more.

Amendment - A proposal to alter the text of a pending bill or other measure by striking out some of it, by inserting new language, or both (Source:

American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (or ASHRAE) - Professional association seeking to advance heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC&R) systems design and construction.

Ampere / Amp (A) - A unit of electrical current calculated in coulombs per second.

Appalachian Mountains (or Mountains)One of the three major geographic regions of North Carolina that constitutes the western part of the state. This includes several mountain ranges (ex. Blue Ridge, Pisgah, Great Smokey) that are part of the larger Appalachian Mountains.

Asset Score - A national standardized tool for assessing the physical and structural energy efficiency of commercial and multifamily residential buildings (Source:

Audit (or Energy Audit) - An assessment of a home’s energy use.

Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) - A system of electric meters from which data can be gathered on a monthly basis without requiring a physical reading of the meter.

Avoided Cost - The incremental cost that a utility avoids by purchasing power from a qualifying facility (QF) rather than generating power itself or purchasing it from another source.

Avoided Cost Rate - The cost utilities would otherwise incur to produce the power obtained from qualifying facilities (QFs).


Balancing Authority - An entity that works to ensure that electricity supply and demand are met to maintain the safety of the grid. There are 66 balancing authorities in the United States, including all the Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs).

Baseload - The continuous level of electricity demand–often met with nuclear and coal plants–that take time to come online and are inexpensive to run for long periods of time.

Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) - A vehicle powered solely through a battery and electric powertrain that is capable of highway speeds (i.e., not golf carts or personal recreational vehicles) (Source: NCDOT).

Beneficial Electrification (or Strategic Electrification) - Process of replacing direct fossil fuel use (e.g., propane, heating oil, gasoline) with electricity in a way that reduces overall emissions and energy costs (Source: EESI).

Bid - Offers submitted by electric buyers and sellers to determine the price of energy in the market.

Bill - The primary form of legislative measure used to propose law. Depending on the chamber of origin, bills begin with a designation of either H.R. or S. (Source:

Bioenergy - Energy derived from the combustion of organic and waste materials (e.g. plant-based sources, municipal wastewater, and municipal solid waste), or their conversion to biofuels, such as methane. Learn more.

Biogas - Gases derived from the anaerobic decomposition of organic and waste materials (e.g. plant-based sources, municipal wastewater, and municipal solid waste) (see, Bioenergy).

BIPOC - Acronym for black, indigenous, and other people of color. The BIPOC community has been historically underrepresented in the clean energy industry; including them in the energy conversation is critical for cultivating an equitable, diverse, and inclusive clean energy community. Learn more.

Blockchain Technology - A distributed, decentralized open network that allows different parties to verify transactions with one another. In the clean energy industry, blockchain technology creates a local renewable energy market that allows extra energy to be sold through peer-to-peer trading without the middle man. Learn more.

Blower Door Test - A test that measures the air infiltration rate of a building. Professional energy auditors conduct this test by installing a fan on an exterior door that pulls the air out of the house and pinpointing cracks in the building envelop where there is an influx of outside air.

Building Performance - Attribute that describes how well the building functions in light of its architecture, design, and construction. This includes qualities like energy efficiency and indoor air quality.

Building Performance Database (BPD) - The nation's largest dataset of information about the energy-related characteristics of commercial and residential buildings (Source:

Building Science (BS) - Field of knowledge that draws upon physics, chemistry, engineering, architecture, and the life sciences.


C&I - Commerical and industrial.

Cap (or Emissions Cap) - An industry or company's greenhouse gas emission allowance issued by the government.

Capacity Factor - A percentage calculated by dividing the actual generation output by the maximum output if the generation unit were running at full-power.

Capital Structure - The relative shares of a utility’s capital that come from debt and equity. Since equity is more expensive than debt, a utility’s capital structure can impact its rate of return.

Carbon Tax - A tax levied on businesses and consumers for the amount of greenhouse gas emissions they emit, which serves as an incentive to reduce carbon emissions (see, Cap-and-Trade).

Carolina Power & Light (CP&L) - The predecessor company to Progress Energy.

Caucus - An informal organization of members of the House or the Senate, or both, that exists to discuss issues of mutual concern and possibly to perform legislative research and policy planning for its members (Source:

Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) - A certificate that must be obtained from the NCUC prior to construction of a new electric generating facility with a capacity of 2-80 MW.

Chair (or Chairman) - The presiding officer of a committee or subcommittee (Source:

Chapter 62 - See, Public Utilities Act.

Clean Energy - Energy derived from renewable, zero-emissions sources (“renewables”), as well as energy saved through energy efficiency measures (see, Renewable Energy).

Clean Energy Insights (or Insights)* - A members-only NCSEA newsletter sent the second week of each month that features clean energy trends and news. Learn more.

Clean Energy Plan (CEP) - An outline of policy and action recommendations prepared by the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NC DEQ) to foster and encourage the utilization of clean energy resources and the integration of those resources to facilitate the development of a modern and resilient electric grid (see, EO80). Learn more.

Coastal Plain - One of the three major geographic regions of North Carolina that borders the Atlantic Ocean. This includes the Outer Coastal Plain (Outer Banks and the Tidewater region) and the Inner Coastal Plain.

Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) - Rules and regulations adopted by the federal government.

Cogeneration - Use of waste heat to generate electricity.

Combined Cycle (CC) - A natural gas generator where a combustion turbine is paired with a steam turbine for greater efficiency.

Combined Heat and Power (CHP) - The use of a heat engine or power station to generate electricity and useful heat at the same time.

Combustion Turbine (CT) - A natural gas generator that heats air to spin an electric generator.

Community Solar - A solar power plant whose electricity is shared by subscribers who may not necessarily be located near the plant itself (see, Customer-Sited Solar). Learn more.

Competitive Procurement of Renewable Energy (CPRE) - A key program implemented by HB589 that set up a competitive bidding process for renewable energy produced by large utilities like Duke Energy. It requires bids to be priced below the utility's avoided cost and offers consumers cheaper renewable energy compared to traditional PURPA rates. See, N.C.G.S. § 62-110.8.

Conduction - A process by which heat energy is transmitted through collisions between neighboring atoms or molecules.

Conference Committee - Members from the House and the Senate who convene to resolve any differences between the different provisions in a bill.

Convection - A process of heat transfer by the bulk movement of molecules within fluids such as gases and liquids

Cooperative (or Co-Op) - See, Electric Membership Corporation.

Cost of Service Regulation - The regulated tariff that covers justified costs of an electric utility’s operation (costs that are necessary and unavoidable) to provide the regulated service at a predefined level of quality.

Coulomb (C) - A unit of electrical charge equivalent to 1 ampere-second.

Critical Peak Pricing (CPP) - Utility pricing that spikes dramatically when qualifying critical events occur.

Curtailable / Interruptible Service - Electricity rider that provides customers a bill credit for decreasing energy use by a certain amount during critical peak periods.

Curtailment - Reduction in the output of a generating unit from what it could otherwise produce given available resources.

Customer Choice - Programs that allow electricity customers to select an electric supplier rather than being required to purchase electricity from their local electric utility, which introduces competition for retail electricity prices (Source:

Customer-Sited Solar (or Residential / Commercial Solar) - Solar projects installed on residential or commercial properties (< 2MW generating capacity) with the intent of supplying or off-setting a portion of the customer's energy demand (see, Utility-Scale Solar). Learn more.


DC Fast Charge (DCFC) - Direct current fast charging stations that offer significantly faster charging time compared to Level 1 or Level 2 charging stations (Source: NCDOT).

Deferral Accounting - An accounting procedure whereby an asset or liability is carried forward until a future date.

Demand - The maximum amount of energy that is being consumed at a given time.

Demand Charges - Charges to larger utility consumers that reflect the cost of additional investments needed to meet their load that are based on the peak demand of these customers during a billing period.

Demand Side Management (DSM) - Activities, programs, or initiatives undertaken by an electric power supplier or its customers to shift the timing of electricity use from peak to non-peak demand periods.

Demand Response - An option for customers to reduce their demand charge by lowering energy use at peak periods.

Department of Energy (DOE) - The United States federal government agency concerning energy policy and safety regarding nuclear material. Learn more.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) - Predecessor of the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).

Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources (DEHNR) - Predecessor of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) - Agency for the protection of North Carolina’s environmental resources. Learn more.

DHHS - Department of Health & Human Services.

Differential Revenue Requirement (DRR) - A method that calculates the difference in the utility’s overall generation cost with and without a qualifying facility (QF) capacity.

Direct Current (DC) - Type of current in which electrical charge flows in one direction.

Distributed Energy Resources (DER) / Distributed Resources (DR) - Small energy resources that are able to be located close to their point of consumption (e.g. rooftop solar panels).

Distributed Generation (DG) - Power generation located close to the load they serve to produce energy on-site or at the point of consumption.

Distribution - The last stage of electric power delivery carrying electricity from the transmission system to individual customers.

Docket - The method of organizing proceedings before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC).

Dominion Energy North Carolina (DENC) - One of three investor-owned utilities operating in North Carolina, primarily serving northeastern parts of the state. An operating division of Virginia Electric and Power Company and a subsidiary of Dominion Resources.

Dominion North Carolina Power (DNCP) - Predecessor of Dominion Energy North Carolina (DENC).

DSM/EE Rider - An annual rider to the rates of a public utility to recover costs associated with their demand side management (DSM) and energy efficiency (EE) measures. See, N.C.G.S. § 62-133.9.

Duke Energy Carolinas (DEC) - One of three investor-owned utilities operating in North Carolina, primarily serving western parts of the state. A subsidiary of Duke Energy Corporation.

Duke Energy Corporation (Duke) - A holding company based in Charlotte, NC that owns several public utilities operating in various states as well as unregulated subsidiaries. The parent company of Duke Energy Carolinas, Duke Energy Progress, and Duke Energy Renewables. Learn more.

Duke Energy Progress (DEP) - One of three investor-owned utilities operating in North Carolina, primarily serving central and southeastern parts of the state. A subsidiary of Duke Energy Corporation.

Duke Energy Renewables - An unregulated business that provides renewable energy products and services nationwide. A wholly-owned subsidiary of Duke Energy Corporation. Learn more.

Duke Power - Predecessor of Duke Energy Carolinas.


Earth Craft - A high-performance building certification program established in 1999 that serves as a blueprint for energy, water, and resource efficient buildings throughout the Southeast. Learn more.

EDI - Acronym for equity, diversity, and inclusion. NCSEA believes that energy systems that serve the diverse citizenry of North Carolina must be shaped to represent the voice of everyone involved. Learn more.

Electric Measurement and Verification (EM&V) - See, Measurement & Verification.

Electric Vehicle (EV) - A vehicle that runs fully or partially on electricity. This includes BEVs, PHEVs, and HEVs (see, Alternative Fuel Vehicle).

Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) - Charging stations or docks that supply electricity to an electric vehicle. Level 1 EVSE use the standard household outlet with a normal 120V connection, whereas Level 2 EVSE use a higher-output 240V power source.

ElectriCities - A trade organization consisting of North Carolina Eastern Municipal Power Agency and North Carolina Municipal Power Agency Number One (NCMPA1).

Electricity / Energy Market - Auctions that are used to coordinate the production of electricity on a day-to-day basis. In an energy market, electric suppliers offer to sell the electricity that their power plants generate for a particular bid price, while load-serving entities (the demand side) bid for that electricity in order to meet their customers’ energy demand (Source:

Energy Burden - The percentage of total household income spent on energy bills. A household with high energy burden pays a disproportionate amount of their monthly budget on energy costs.

Energy Charge - The rate power suppliers charge customers specifically for their kWh electricity usage over a billing period.

Energy Data Solutions (EDS)* - The NCSEA team that uses data analytics and insights to help energy stakeholders achieve utility solutions, shape energy policy, and harness the benefits of clean energy. Learn more.

Energy Efficiency (EE) - Technologies (including passive solar), products, and services that reduce the amount of energy required for buildings, processes, or tasks. Learn more.

Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM) - A generic term used to refer to any home mortgage for which the underwriting guidelines have been relaxed for EE features

Energy / Fuel Diversity - The diversification of energy sources.

Energy Information Administration (EIA) - An agency within the United States Department of Energy (DOE) that collects data on all things related to energy, from gas prices to the capacity factors of power plants.

Energy Mix - The array of primary energy sources used in a given area to meet its energy consumption needs.

Energy Policy Act of 2005 - U.S. bill that provides tax incentives and loan guarantees to allow alternative energy sources and innovative technologies to be more competitive in electricity markets.

Energy Policy Council (EPC) - The North Carolina Energy Policy Council advises the governor and General Assembly on legislation and rule-making that addresses domestic energy exploration, protects the environment, and encourages economic development. Learn more.

Energy Service Company (ESCO) - A company that provides comprehensive energy solutions to its customers, including auditing, redesigning and implementing changes to the ways the customer consumes energy, the main goal being improved efficiency.

Energy Solutions Reserve Fund (ESRF)* - A fund offered by NCSEA that serves as a financial security net for utilities offering inclusive, innovative clean energy programs for their customers. Learn more.

ENERGY STAR® - A program run by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) that promotes energy efficiency. Learn more.

Energy Storage - Technologies and products that are used to store energy for later use. Learn more.

Environmental Management Commission (EMC) - The 15-member commission appointed by the Governor, the Senate Pro Tempore, and the Speaker of the House responsible for adopting rules for the protection, preservation, and enhancement of the state's air and water resources. Learn more.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) - The United States federal government agency with offices concerning energy policy regulations. Learn more.

Equality - A scenario where each individual or group of people is given the same resources or opportunities (Source: George Washington University).

Equity - A scenario where resources and opportunities are exacted to individuals to reach an equal outcome and takes cognisance of individual circumstances (Source: George Washington University).

Events Radar* - A public NCSEA newsletter sent the first week of each month that lists NCSEA and partner clean energy events. Learn more.

Executive Order #218 (EO218) - The 2021 Executive Order signed by Governor Cooper that sets North Carolina's first offshore wind energy procurement targets of 2.8 gigawatts by 2030 and 8.0 gigawatts by 2040, as well as directs various state agencies to advise on policy and coordinate around economic development. Learn more.

Executive Order #80 (EO80) - The 2018 Executive Order signed by Governor Cooper that put forth three goals to achieve by 2025—increasing zero-emission vehicles on the road to 80,000; reducing energy consumption in state-owned buildings by 40 percent (from 2002-2003 baseline); and achieving a 40 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 levels. Learn more.

Expert Witness - A person who is permitted to testify at a trial because of special knowledge or proficiency in a particular field that is relevant to the case. In our case, expert witnesses typically provide testimony for proceedings at the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC).


Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) - The federal regulatory body with oversight of utilities engaging in interstate commerce. The agency is designed to protect the public and energy customers, the wholesale of electricity, and the reliability of the electric grid.

Federal Solar Tax Credit - A tax credit that can be claimed on federal income taxes for a percentage of the cost of a solar photovoltaic (PV) system (Source: DOE).

Fiscal Year - The accounting period for the federal government, which begins on October 1 and ends on September 30. The fiscal year is designated by the calendar year in which it ends; for example, fiscal year 2013 begins on October 1, 2012 and ends on September 30, 2013 (Source:

Fixed Charge - This is a charge that some customers have to pay before their energy meter starts running.

Fixed Rates - Utility pricing that involve a set rate per kWh (see, TOU Rates).

Flexible Fuel Vehicle / Flex-Fuel Vehicle (FFV) - A vehicle with a combustion engine that is designed to run on a mix of conventional gasoline and fuels made from alternative sources such as sugarcane or corn.

Franchise - A grant of authority from the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) for a business to act as a public utility, which may include the grant of exclusive territory.

Fuel Rider - An annual rider to the rates of a public utility to recover costs of fuel and fuel-related costs. See, N.C.G.S. § 62-133.2.


General Rate Case - Proceedings used to address the costs of operating and maintaining the utility system and the allocation of those costs among customer classes.

Generation Capacity - The maximum amount of electricity (as measured in MW) a generator can produce when running at full blast.

Geothermal - Use of thermal energy (heat) stored in the Earth to generate electricity. Learn more.

GIS (Geographic Information System) Mapping - A framework for gathering, managing, and analyzing spatial and geographic data. It analyzes spatial location and organizes layers of information into visualizations using maps and 3D scenes. With this unique capability, GIS reveals deeper insights into data, such as patterns, relationships, and situations (Source: Esri).

Green Source Advantage - A program that is part of HB589 that provides military installations, the University of North Carolina institutions, and large commercial customers the option to secure significant amounts of renewable energy to satisfy their clean energy goals. Learn More.

Greenhouse Gas (GHG) - Gases that trap heat in the atmosphere (Source: EPA).

Grid - The layout of an electrical distribution system; a system of interconnected power lines and generators.

Ground Source Heat Pumps (GSHPs) - Central heating and cooling systems that increase efficiency by transferring heat to or from the ground or a body of water (see, Geothermal). Learn more.


HB - House bill.

Hearing - A meeting of a committee or subcommittee–generally open to the public–to take testimony in order to gather information and opinions on proposed legislation, to conduct an investigation, or review the operation or other aspects of a Federal agency or program (Source:

Hedge - Investment strategy intended to reduce or offset potential losses from other investments.

Helping Home Fund - A program administered by the North Carolina Community Action Association that delivers weatherization services, appliance replacements, and critical health and safety repairs at no cost to low-income households. Learn more.

HERS Index - The scoring system established by RESNET.  Scores 0-100, with lower scores corresponding to increased energy efficiency.

HERS Provider ("Providership") - An individual or organization responsible for the operation and management of a HERS.

HERS Rater - An individual certified to perform residential building energy efficiency ratings.

Historically Black Colleges and Universities Clean Energy Initiative (HBCU CEI) - A strategic initiative of the HBCU Community Development Action Coalition (CDAC) with the goal of positioning the HBCU and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) and their leaders, researchers, and students as thought leaders in the clean energy revolution (Source: Green Clean Resources). Learn more.

Home Energy Rating Service (HERS) - A standardized system for rating the energy efficiency of new residential construction.

Home Energy Score (HES) - Developed by DOE and its national laboratories, the Home Energy Score provides home owners, buyers, and renters directly comparable and credible information about a home's energy use.

Hosting Capacity Maps - A map or analytical tool that tells developers of distributed generation the amount of capacity that a distribution feeder can accommodate without extensive upgrades.


House Bill 589 (HB589) - The “Competitive Energy Solutions for NC” passed in 2017 and signed by Governor Cooper. Learn more.


House Bill 951 (HB951) - Energy Solutions for North Carolina, was the major energy legislation that passed during North Carolina's 2021 legislative session and lays out a number of policy changes to how North Carolina regulates energy. Following the enactment of HB951 on Oct. 13, 2021, the NC Utilities Commission (NCUC) began opening dockets to implement the legislation. Follow along as NCSEA works to successfully implement this law, piece by piece, before the NCUC and ensure a beneficial outcome for North Carolina and its energy customers.


Housewrap - Any material used for wrapping the exterior of the building envelope.


HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) Systems - The system responsible for heating and cooling your home and includes products like furnaces, air conditioners, heat pumps as well as ductwork, thermostats, and other home comfort controls (Source: Trane).

Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) - A low-emission vehicle that uses an electric motor to assist gas-powered engines. All energy comes from gasoline (Source: EVgo).

Hydropower - Technologies or devices that harness the force of falling or flowing water, including marine waves, for useful purposes such as generating electricity or creating mechanical force. Learn more.


Incumbent Utility - The utility with the territorial rights to a particular location.

Independent Power Producer (IPP) - An entity, which is not a public utility, but which owns facilities to generate electric power for sale to utilities and end users.

Independent System Operator (ISO) - See, Regional Transmission Organization (RTO).

Indoor air quality (IAQ) - The quality of air inside of a home or building.

Industrial - Utility market segment that includes manufacturers and other large users of electricity (see, Residential).

Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF) - Factory-built wall systems containing concrete, rebar and other materials creating a sturdy, air-tight and well insulated wall assembly.

Integrated Distribution Planning (IDP) - A process that utilities undergo to map out their existing systems through a detailed engineering assessment in order to identify infrastructure changes that may be needed to achieve grid modernization goals.

Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) - A utility plan for meeting forecasted annual peak and energy demand, with some reserve margin, over a specified future period.

Integrated Systems Operation Planning (ISOP) - Duke Energy’s planning framework that combines generation, transmission, and distribution planning. Learn more.

Integrated Volt Var Control - A smart grid technology that optimizes voltage and reactive power to reduce peak power demands.

Interconnection (IX) - The process by which an independent power producer connects to the electric grid operated by an incumbent utility.

Interconnection Agreement (IA) - Agreement between two or more utilities to connect their power grids.

Interconnection Queue - The order in which qualifying facilities (QFs) are interconnected to the electric grid by incumbent utilities.

Interconnection Standards - Requirements for connecting utilities (such as solar, wind, etc.) to the grid.

Intermediate Load - The load between baseload and peak load met with generation that takes less time than baseload generators to come online, such as combined cycle natural gas and solar photovoltaics.

Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) - An engine that fuels a vehicle via combustion of a power source, using inputs such as gasoline, diesel, biofuels, propane or natural gas (Source: NCDOT).

Investor-Owned Utility (IOU) - A publicly-traded electric public utility. The IOUs operating in North Carolina are Duke Energy Carolinas, Duke Energy Progress, and Dominion Energy North Carolina.

Islanding - The ability of a generator to operate independently of the grid.


JEDI - Acronym for justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (see, EDI).

Joule (J) - A unit of work or energy equivalent to 1 watt-second.


Kilowatt (kW) - 1,000 watts, where a watt is a unit of electrical power calculated in joules per second.

Kilowatt-Hour (kWh) - A unit of energy that is typically used to measure the amount of electricity consumed by a customer over a billing period. 1,000 watt-hours equal 1 kWh.


LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) - The most widely used green building rating system that certifies a building for using less energy and water. Learn more.

Legally Enforceable Obligation (LEO) - An obligation of a utility to purchase electricity or capacity from a qualifying facility (QF) under PURPA established by the states, even in the absence of a contract. In North Carolina, a legally enforceable obligation arises when a QF has obtained a certificate of public convenience and necessity and has committed to sell its generation to the utility.

Legislative Update Calls* - A bi-weekly call held by NCSEA to discuss updates at the legislature with our members. Join us.

Lessee - The customer who is leasing a distributed energy resource (see, HB589).

Lessor - The owner of a leased distributed energy resource (see, HB589).

Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) - A metric that calculates the cost of building and operating a power plant over an assumed lifetime divided by energy production.

Levelized Cost of Storage (LCOS) - A metric that calculates economic break-even price required to charge and discharge electricity in a variable number of cycles per year.

LIHEAP - Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

LMI - Low- to Moderate-Income.

Load - Amount of electricity demand on the grid at any given time.

Load-Serving Entity (LSE) - Industry term for public utility.


Making Energy Work (MEW)*- NCSEA's webinar series attended by people across the country that feature nationally and regionally renowned experts within their respective fields to help shape the conversations driving clean energy forward in North Carolina and the country. Learn more.

MANEL* - The NCSEA acronym for an “all-male panel.” NCSEA doesn’t hold MANELs, instead, we have made a commitment to only sponsor, host, or co-host events that have a racial, ethnic, and gender diverse speaker line-up (see, WANEL). Learn more.

Market Segments - Utility customer groups (residential, commercial/general, industrial) based on similar characteristics, such as quantity of power needed, voltage requirements, and accounting preferences.

Markup - The process by which congressional committees and subcommittees debate, amend, and rewrite proposed legislation (Source:

Measurement and Verification (M&V) - Calculating the amount of energy that has been saved by energy efficiency and clean energy.

Megawatt (MW) - 1,000,000 watts, where a watt is a unit of electrical power calculated in joules per second.

Megawatt-Hour (MWh) - 1,000,000 watt-hours or 1,000 kWh.

Member Calls* - A bi-weekly call held by NCSEA to keep our members updated on all clean energy-related policy and regulatory developments. Join us.

Merchant Plant - An electric generating facility that sells electricity at wholesale and is not a qualifying facility (QF).

Microgrid - Smaller, localized electricity grids that have the ability to disconnect and operate independently from outside resources. The independence of a micro grid can be permanent or achieved temporarily through a switch.

Microgrid Technologies - Products that allow an area to operate autonomously, without being connected to the grid.

Mixed-Humid - Climate Climate zone having fewer than 5,400 annual heating degree days (base 65 degrees F), and an average monthly winter temperature below 45 degrees F.  Important when designing your building envelope.

Motion to Proceed (or Motion to Proceed to Consider) - A motion in the Senate, which, if agreed to by a majority of those present and voting, brings a measure (e.g., bill) or matter (e.g., nomination) before the chamber for consideration (Source:

Motion to Table - Used in both the Senate and House, if adopted a motion to table permanently kills a pending matter and ends any further debate on the matter (Source:

Multi-State Medium- and Heavy-Duty Zero Emission Vehicle – Memorandum of Understanding - A pact signed by U.S. state governors (including NC Governor Cooper) who are committed to achieving 100% tailpipe pollution-free electric commercial vehicles in their state by 2050. Learn more.

Municipal Electric Supplier (Muni) - City-owned electric utilities. There are currently 51 municipal electric suppliers in North Carolina.


National Energy Act of 1978 - The federal act adopted in response to the energy crises of the 1970s, which includes the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA).

National Association of Energy Service Companies (NAESCO) - Professional association seeking to advance ESCOs in the building performance community.

Net Energy Metering (NEM) (or Net Metering) - Billing mechanism that allows the unused electricity generated by customer owned systems to be sold back to the utility in exchange for a credit on their utility bill (watch our video explanation).

New Source Performance Standards (NSPS)- Pollution control standards for new and modified stationary sources emission sources developed by the U.S. EPA under the Clean Air Act (Source: EPA).

North Carolina Building Code Council (BCC) Committee - A group of members appointed by the Governor that adopts and amends the NC State Building Codes as authorized by N.C.G.S. § 143-136. NCSEA plays an active role in the NC BCC committee by educating policymakers about the value of improved codes and standards.

North Carolina Clean Energy Industry Census* - An NCSEA annual survey since 2008 of companies, institutions, and organizations in the Clean Energy Industry to quantify their impact on the state’s economy as well as inform where policies may or may not be achieving the results policymakers and market actors envisioned. Learn more.

North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) - A North Carolina state agency concerned with transportation. Learn more.

North Carolina Eastern Municipal Power Agency (NCEMPA) - An organization of 32 municipal power suppliers located in the eastern part of North Carolina.

North Carolina Electric Membership Corporation (NCEMC) - Member-owned cooperative electric utilities that supply primarily rural customers in North Carolina.

North Carolina Environmental Management Commission - See, EMC.

North Carolina General Assembly (NCGA) - The Senate and the House of Representatives for North Carolina.

North Carolina General Statutes (NCGS) - A statute that operates equally or alike upon all persons, entities, or subjects within North Carolina.

North Carolina Municipal Power Agency Number One (NCMPA1) - An organization of 19 municipal power suppliers located in the middle and western part of North Carolina.

North Carolina Renewable Energy Tracking System (NC-RETS) - A web-based platform to create, track, and manage renewable energy certificate (REC) origination for renewable energy production facilities, utility energy efficiency, demand-side management programs, and hydropower. Learn More.

North Carolina Rural Electrification Authority (NCREA) - The North Carolina agency with jurisdiction over certain aspects of electric membership corporations (EMCs).

North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA)* - The leading 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in North Carolina that works to enable clean energy jobs, economic opportunities, and affordable energy options for North Carolinians. Learn more.

North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) - The North Carolina agency with jurisdiction over public utilities and electric generating facilities.

North Carolina Weatherization Assistance Program (NCWAP) - A program administered by the NC Department of Environmental Quality (NC DEQ) that reduces energy costs for low-income households by increasing the energy efficiency of their homes, while ensuring their health and safety. Learn more.

North Carolina Zero-Emission Vehicles Plan (NC ZEV Plan) - A strategic plan for accelerating electric vehicle adoption in North Carolina that furthers environmental and economic objectives consistent with EO80. Learn more.


Offshore Wind Interagency Workgroup - An workgroup established under the provisions of EO218 that meets quarterly to ensure offshore wind activities are well coordinated among leadership in relevant agencies (Source:

Operation and Maintenance Expenses (O&M) - Cost of running and upkeep for a component of a system.

On-bill Financing (OBF) - Financing that allows the utility to recoup the cost of a customer's clean energy upgrade by adding it back to the customer's utility bill.

On-bill Program - A customer program where the method of financing energy efficiency or other clean energy improvements uses the utility bill as the repayment vehicle. In on-bill programs, the upfront cost of energy equipment is funded by an electric utility or a third-party financier. There are three types of on-bill programs: on-bill financing, on-bill repayment, and on-bill tariff (Source: ACEEESEEA).

On-bill Repayment (OBR) - A type of on-bill program where the capital provider is a third party, and the utility operates as a repayment conduit for that third-party capital provider. A utility may opt to use its own funds to offer administrative support or credit enhancements (Source: ACEEE).

On-bill Tariff (OBT) / Tariffed On-bill (TOB) Financing - A type of on-bill program where energy upgrades are financed not through a loan, but through a utility offer that pays for upgrades through a cost recovery charge on the customer bill that is less than the estimated savings. The on-bill charge is associated with the meter at the address of the property or facility where upgrades are installed (Source: ACEEE).


Pay As You Save® (PAYS®) - A proven model of tariffed on-bill (TOB) financing that allows low- to moderate-income (LMI) residents to receive energy efficiency upgrades at no upfront cost. There is no risk to the customer as the cost recovery charge on the utility bill is substantially less than the estimated savings, so the customer enjoys immediate positive cash flow (Source: LibertyHomes). Learn more.

Peak Demand - The time of day when the most energy is being used from the electrical grid.

Peak Load - The historical maximum level of demand on an electrical system.

Photovoltaics (PV) - Conversion of light energy into electricity via semiconducting materials present in solar panels.

Piedmont - One of the three major geographic regions of North Carolina that sits in the middle of the state, between the Coastal Plain and the Mountain regions. This includes the major cities in the Triad and Triangle regions.

Piedmont Triad (or The Triad) - The northwest subregion of Piedmont (west of the Triangle) that comprises of North Carolina counties surrounding the cities of Greensboro, Winston-Salem, and High Point (see, RPT).

PJM Interconnection - A regional transmission organization serving all or parts of 13 states and Washington D.C. Membership includes Dominion Energy North Carolina (DENC). Learn more.

Plug-in-Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) - A vehicle that combines a conventional gasoline powered engine with a battery that can be recharged, allowing it to operate as an electric vehicle (Source: NCDOT).

Policy Gossip* - An NCSEA video series where select NCSEA staff spill the beans on North Carolina's policies regarding clean energy. Learn more.

Policy Update* - A business members-only NCSEA newsletter sent every Friday during the Legislative Session with that week's legislative updates. Learn more.

Powering Energy Efficiency and Impacts Framework (PEEIF) Project - An initiative to enhance the efficiency of energy service delivery to low-income households in northeastern North Carolina. Learn more.

Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) - A contract between an electric generating facility and an electric purchaser, often a utility.

Primary Energy Sources - Energy sources consisting of unconverted or original fuels that are directly harnessed or mined. These include fossil fuels, nuclear energy, and renewable sources of energy (see, Secondary Energy Sources).

Proceeding - See, Docket.

Progress Energy - Predecessor of Duke Energy Progress (DEP).

Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) - A mechanism for financing energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements on private property.

Public Service Commission of South Carolina - The South Carolina agency with jurisdiction over utilities.

Public Staff - North Carolina Utilities Commission - The North Carolina agency directed to represent the “using and consuming public” before the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) while ensuring the rates that utility companies charge are "reasonable."

Public Utilities Act - The North Carolina act governing utilities, codified as North Carolina General Statutes Chapter 62.

Public Utility - A business producing, generating, transmitting, delivering, or furnishing electricity to the public for compensation. Public utilities are generally subject to the jurisdiction of the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC). The term does not include persons generating electricity for their own use and generally does not include electric membership corporations and municipal electric suppliers.

Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA) - Federal energy legislation of the National Energy Policy Act which, among other policies, requires utilities to purchase electricity from most small power producers at an avoided cost rate. The purpose of PURPA was to encourage conservation, reliability, and efficiency in the delivery and generation of electricity, and to do so with equitable retail rates for electric consumers.


Qualifying Facility (QF) - A small power production facility (80 MW or less) or cogeneration facility that meets status requirements under PURPA. A QF is relieved of certain regulatory burdens and has the right to sell energy to, purchase certain services from, and interconnect with the utility.


R&D - Research and Development.

Radiation - Process by which heat energy is transferred via electromagnetic waves.

Rating Field Inspector RFI - An individual certified to perform some aspects of residential building EE ratings (under HERS Rater).
Rate of Return - The blended return allowed by combining a utility’s capital structure with the cost of debt and the authorized return on equity. Legal precedent requires that the rate of return be sufficient to allow the utility to attract capital under prudent management.

Rate Schedule - See, Tariff.

Rate Design - The framework utilities regulators use to set prices for electricity; it impacts consumption and investment decisions across all resources such as energy efficiency, demand response, and traditional and distributed generation.

Real-Time Pricing (RTP) - Price each customer pays for a unit of electricity (based on both quantity and time).

Recovered Energy (or Waste Heat Energy) - Reused energy or heat that would otherwise be wasted.

Regional Transmission Organization (RTO) / Independent System Operator (ISO) - An organization responsible for moving electricity through multi-state areas. Regional transmission organizations were formed pursuant to an order from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in 1999. The only regional transmission organization operating in North Carolina is PJM Interconnection.

Renewable Energy - Energy derived from natural processes that are regenerative over short periods of time and cannot be depleted. The most common renewable energy resources are biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, and wind (see, Sustainable Energy).

Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS) - A law that requires investor-owned utilities in North Carolina to meet up to 12.5% of their energy needs through renewable energy resources or energy efficiency measures by 2021. See, N.C.G.S. § 62-133.8.

Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) - A market-based instrument that represents the property rights to the environmental, social, and other non-power attributes of renewable electricity generation. RECs are issued when 1 MWh of electricity is generated and delivered to the electricity grid from a renewable energy resource (Source: EPA) (see, SREC).

Renewable Energy Database (REDB)* - NCSEA’s database that tracks solar, wind, hydroelectric, and biomass generation systems registered with the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC). Learn more.

Renewable Energy Investment Tax Credit (REITC) - An energy rebate that provides a federal tax deduction proportional to the cost of installing renewable energy systems in both residential and commercial contexts. See, 26 U.S.C. § 48 and N.C.G.S. § 105-129.15 et seq.

Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) / Renewable Electricity Standards (RES) - Policies that require or encourage electricity suppliers to provide their customers with a stated minimum share of electricity from eligible renewable resources (Source: EIA).

Report of Proposed Construction (ROPC) - The report filed with the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) by an electric generating facility under 2 MW fueled by renewable energy resources that are not owned by utilities prior to construction.

REPS Rider - An annual rider to the rates of a public utility to recover costs associated with their compliance with the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS). The REPS Rider is capped at set amounts for different customer classes. See, N.C.G.S. § 62-133.8.

Research Triangle Park (RTP) / The Research Triangle - The northeast subregion of Piedmont (east of the Triad) that comprises of North Carolina counties surrounding the cities of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill (see, Piedmont Triad).

Reserve (or Reserve Margin) - The electric generating capacity in excess of peak load constructed to ensure service when demand exceeds historical levels of maximum demand.

Residential - Utility market segment that includes houses and apartments (see, Industrial).

Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) - The national association of energy rating providers.

Resiliency - An electrical system's ability to maintain critical infrastructure and services despite adverse events and chronic stressors. Most renewable energy systems do not require inputs of fuel and therefore supply will not be disrupted by adverse conditions affecting roads or pipelines.

Resource shuffling: Occurs when a utility company attempts to receive credit for emissions reductions that have not occurred as a result of a utility moving its electricity generation to other entities, states, or operations. This practice usually results in no actual reduction in emissions because of the proposed cleaner energy source being bypassed by dirtier, cheaper fossil fuels which fall outside the border enforcing emissions reductions.

Retail Electricity Rate - The per kWh rate that a customer is charged for the electricity they use.

Retrofit - Modifications to existing residential, commercial, or industrial buildings that may improve energy efficiency or decrease energy demand.

Return on Equity - The return that must be offered to investors in order to attract equity. Unlike the cost of debt, there are multiple methods for calculating return on equity, and thus it is frequently litigated in rate cases.

Rider [Legal] - An amendment tacked on to a bill which has little or no relevance to the main purpose of the legislation, but is a way to get the amendment passed if the basic bill has support (Source: The Free Dictionary).

Rider [Utility] - An additional charge, separate from the base rate, paid by customers to a utility for a specific purpose (see, Fuel Rider and REPS Rider).

Rooftop Solar - Electricity-generating panels mounted on the rooftop of residential or commercial buildings.

R-Value - Measures a materials ability to resist heat transfer, aka thermal resistance.  Commonly used in insulation.


SB - Senate bill.

Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) / Rating - The ratio of the cooling output of an air conditioner over a typical cooling season, divided by the energy it uses in watt-hours (Source: Trane).

Secondary Energy Sources - Energy sources generated or converted from primary energy sources. These include electricity, hydrogen, and heat (see, Primary Energy Sources).

Securitization - When a bond is issued to recover the costs of an uneconomic asset. Ratepayers repay the bond at a low-interest rate, instead of paying for the uneconomic asset at the utility’s higher rate of return, which leads to savings for ratepayers.

Senate Bill 3 (SB3) - The legislation passed adopting North Carolina’s Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS). See, N.C. Session Law 2007-397. Learn more.

Service Area - An area assigned by the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) to a public utility in which the public utility has the exclusive right to serve all premises.

Smart Grid Technologies - Technologies (power meters, voltage sensors, fault detectors, and more) characterized by an ability for two-way communication between the device and power supplier to help automate and modernize the electricity grid. Learn more.

Solar - Technologies and products that harness sunlight to produce either heat or electricity. Learn more.

Solar Business Code of Conduct* - A pledge signed by NCSEA’s customer-sited solar members that requires them to abide by certain obligations to the public, consumers, the clean energy industry, and related professions and industries. Learn more.

Solar Loan - A loan that allows you to purchase a solar-energy system and pay it off over time. Unlike with solar leasing or a power purchase agreement (PPA), you own the system outright, which can allow you to take advantage of tax incentives (Source: Credit Karma).

Solar Panels / Modules - Panels that convert absorbed sunlight into electricity or heat energy.

Solar Rebate Program - Duke Energy Program that grants one-time solar rebates to residential and nonresidential applicants in North Carolina who have recently installed or plan to install solar panels. Learn more.

Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC) - A performance-based solar incentive that allow you to earn additional income from solar electricity generation. As a homeowner, you can earn one SREC for every MWh of electricity your solar panel system generates (Source: Energy Sage).

Solar Thermal - Harnessing of sunlight to meet requirements for residential, commercial, or industrial processes to create heat energy that is used directly or to generate electricity.

Solar Thermal Panels - Panels that convert absorbed sunlight into heat energy. Oftentimes, this technology is used to heat water.

Southeast and Mid-Atlantic Regional Transformative Partnership for Offshore Wind Energy Resources – Memorandum of Understanding (SMART-POWER MOU) - A pact singed by the governors of North Carolina, Maryland, and Virginia in October 2020 that provides a framework for the three states to cooperatively promote, develop, and expand offshore wind energy and the accompanying industry supply chain and workforce (Source: Learn more.

Spatial Analysis / Statistics - Techniques that study and analyze the topological, geometric, or geographic properties of a region. Learn more.

Sponsor - A senator or representative who introduces and advocates for a bill or legislation.

Squeaky Clean Energy Podcast* - NCSEA's podcast that provides a fresh take on North Carolina’s evolving clean energy policy landscape and covers technologies such as solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, biogas, electric vehicles, battery storage, and the whole nine yards. Learn more.

Standard Contract PPA - A uniform power purchase agreement (PPA) approved by a state regulatory authority under which a qualifying facility (QF) may opt to sell its electricity to a utility at avoided cost pursuant to PURPA instead of entering into a negotiated contract.

Structurally Insulated Panel (SIP) - Factory-built insulated wall assemblies that ensure full alignment of insulation and air barriers.
Story of Clean Energy* - The NCSEA website that features North Carolina's growing clean energy success stories and the people behind it. Learn more.

Storyteller* - A public NCSEA newsletter sent every 3 months that showcases community and membership clean energy stories. Learn more.

Supplementary / Standby Service - Electricity rider for large customers that require the utility to build and hold spare generation capacity in reserve.

Surplus - Electric production from a utility that exceeds the demand of its service area.

Sustainable Energy - Energy sources that meet the energy demands of today without compromising its availability in the future (see, Renewable Energy).


Tariff - A service and billing option offered by a utility. Utilities may offer different rate schedules to different customer classes and for different electric uses.

Tariffed On-bill (TOB) Financing - See, On-bill Tariff (OBT).

Taskforce for Offshore Wind Economic Resource Strategies (TOWERS) - An advisory council established under the provisions of EO218 that meets quarterly to provide expert advice for advancing North Carolina offshore wind projects, economic development, and job creation. Learn more.

Tax Credit - A dollar-for-dollar reduction in the amount of income tax you would otherwise owe (Source: DOE).

Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) - A federally-owned electric utility operating in the western part of North Carolina. Learn more.

Third Party Leasing - The leasing of distributed energy resources from a lessor to a lessee.

Thermal Bridging - Accelerated thermal flow that occurs when materials that are poor insulators displace insulation.
Thermal Boundary - The border between conditioned and unconditioned space.

Third Party Sales - Electricity sales from an independent power producer directly to a consumer.

Time Varying Rates (TVR) / Time Variant Pricing - Electricity rates that vary over time based on factors such as demand (see, Fixed Rates).

Time-of-Use (TOU) Rates - Utility pricing that changes according to time of day (peak vs. off-peak) and season during which energy is consumed. Under this plan, electric bills are be determined by how much energy is used and when it is used (see, Fixed Rates).

Transmission - Generated electric power is delivered to customers over transmission and distribution lines. Transmission lines carry electricity over long distances from a generating plant to an electrical substation.

Transportation Control Measures (TCM) - Strategies that reduce transportation-related air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and fuel use by reducing vehicle miles traveled and improving roadway operations (Source: EPA).

Triad - See, Piedmont Triad.

Triangle - See, RTP.


Used and Useful Assets - A fundamental principle of utility regulation that requires energy assets be used and useful to ratepayers before they are asked to pay the costs associated with them.

Utility - See, Public Utility.

Utility-Scale Solar - Solar facilities with a total generating capacity of more than 2 megawatts developed with the primary goal of supplying a utility with energy (see, Customer-Sited Solar). Learn more.

Utility Solutions Program* - An NCSEA program that supports utility business models and customers by aligning interests through the development of innovative programs that promote clean energy, energy equity, and economic opportunities. Program services include the Energy Solutions Reserve Fund (ESRF), program evaluation through data analysis, and energy program design consultation. Learn more.

U-Value - Measures the rate at which heat flows through a building assembly or material, aka thermal transmittance. Commonly used for windows.


Vertically Integrated Monopoly - An arrangement of the energy market where a utility owns all levels of electricity services–generation, transmission, and distribution–within a geographic area. A truly competitive market is one in which electricity generation and management are unbundled.

Veto - Presidential disapproval of a bill or joint resolution presented to him for enactment into law. If a president vetoes a bill, it can become law only if the House and Senate separately vote (by two-thirds) to override the veto (Source:

Volt (V) - A unit of electrical pressure or potential calculated in joules per coulomb.

Volt/VAR Optimization (VVO) - The process of optimally managing voltage system-wide voltage levels and reactive power flow to achieve efficient distribution grid operation.


Watt (W) - A unit of electrical power calculated in joules per second.

Watt-Hour (Wh) - A unit of energy equivalent to 1 watt of power generated over an hour.

WANEL* - The NCSEA acronym for an “all-white panel.” NCSEA doesn’t hold WANELs, instead, we have made a commitment to only sponsor, host, or co-host events that have a racial, ethnic, and gender diverse speaker line-up (see, MANEL). Learn more.

Weatherization - The process of making a building more resistant to the effects of changing weather and increasing its energy efficiency.

Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) - Program that reduces energy costs for low-income households by increasing the energy efficiency of their homes, while ensuring their health and safety.

Wholesale Energy Competition - Giving an energy distributor the option to buy power from a variety of power producers while the producers compete to sell their power to different distribution utilities.

Wind - Technologies and products related to the harnessing of wind energy to produce electricity or mechanical force.

Wind Energy Area (WEA) - Areas that appear most suitable for commercial wind energy activities, while presenting the fewest apparent environmental and user conflicts (Source: BOEM).

Women in Clean Energy (WICE)* - An NCSEA initiative to foster a community of support, solidarity, and camaraderie for self-identifying North Carolinian professional women in the clean energy industry. Learn more.


Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) - A fully electric plug-in or plug-in-hybrid electric vehicle; other forms of zero emissions vehicle will be considered as technology becomes more widespread and readily adopted (Source: NCDOT).

*NCSEA-specific terms

Is there a term that should be in our glossary but isn't?