Net-Zero Glossary

A

Additionality

Enabling new renewable projects to be built where they otherwise would not have been able to - for example through a Corporate Power Purchase Agreement.

 

B

BECCS (Bioenergy Carbon Capture & Storage)

Where bioenergy is deployed alongside carbon capture and storage to capture CO2 produced during the process through which bioenergy is used to generate electricity. 

 

C

Carbon Free

Where no carbon emissions are released throughout a process or operation.

Carbon Intensity

The carbon emitted per unit of energy used - often expressed in g/kWh.

Carbon Neutral

A process or operation in which the carbon emissions associated with its actions are reduced or offset to zero.

Carbon Offsetting

Actions taken to mitigate the impacts of carbon released by a process or operation, for example planting trees to absorb equivalent levels of CO2 to those produced.

CCUS (Carbon Capture with Utilisation and Storage)

A process by which any CO2 produced from burning fossil fuels is captured and transported to a place of storage. The CO2 is compressed and transported for long-term storage in either geological formations or used in industrial processes.

Circular Business

A model adopted by businesses that aim to re-use or recycle as much as possible in order to reduce waste and the environmental impacts associated with their operations

Corporate Power Purchase Agreement (CPPA)

Where an end-user contracts with a specific generator to buy the power generated by that project.

 

D

Decarbonisation

The action of removing carbon emissions, for example from the energy system or transport.

Distributed Energy Resources (DER)

 Smaller scale electricity generators (or assets able to offer flexibility, such as storage) connected to distribution networks.

DSR (Demand Side Response)

A deliberate change to a consumer’s natural pattern of metered electricity or gas consumption. Both reducing and increasing consumption levels are considered DSR.

 

E

Electrolysis

The chemical process of using electricity to split water into its constituent hydrogen and oxygen elements.

Embodied Carbon

All of the CO2 emissions related to a particular material throughout it's lifetime across various parts of the supply chain.

F

Feedstock

The raw material used to fuel a process, such as the waste used in Energy from Waste (EFW) plants.

 

G

Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG)

The release of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, ozone or water vapour which contribute to climate change.

Green Hydrogen

Hydrogen produced via electrolysis using zero carbon electricity - therefore having no carbon emissions associated with it's production.

 

H

Heat Pumps

A pump which moves heat energy from a lower temperature source to a higher temperature destination.

Hydrogen Combined Cycle Turbine (Hydrogen CCGT)

Combined cycle turbine which burns hydrogen (rather than natural gas) to generate electricity.

 

I

Indirect Emissions

Emissions which occur as a result of one entity's activities, but are controlled by a separate entity, for example the carbon emissions a business incurs from it's employees travelling to work via car or public transport.

ISO 14064

An internationally recognised standard for emissions reporting.

 

K

kilowatt/kilowatt hour (kWh)

A standardised unit of electricity equivalent to 1,000 watts. Consumption based charges vary according to the number of kWhs used.

 

L

Load Factors

The actual amount of electrical power created by a generator Vs the theoretical maximum power that could be generated from that installation. 

 

M

Methane Reformation

A method for deriving hydrogen, ammonia, or other products from hydrocarbon fuels including natural gas. In addition to Steam Methane Reforming (SMR), this could include Autothermal reforming (ATR) which uses a pure stream of oxygen to drive the reaction and increase the hydrogen production and CO2 capture.

Mega Watt/ Mega Watt Hours (MWh)

A standardised unit of electricity equivalent to 1,000 kilowatts (1,000,000 watts). Consumption based charges vary according to the number of MWhs used.

 

N

Net-Negative Emissions

Where negative carbon emissions are greater than positive emissions.

Net-Zero

When the total amount of greenhouse gases emitted in a year is zero - after emissions and carbon capture have been accounted for. The UK is aiming to reach this by 2050.

 

O

Offtaker

A business, such as SmartestEnergy, which purchases power from independent generation projects which it does not own.

 

P

Peak Demand

The time at which demand for electricity is at it's highest. This three highest periods of demand throughout November to February each year are known as 'Triads', which help to set the costs of Transmission Network Use of System (TNUoS) Charges.

  

R

Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin (REGO)

A certificate which proves one MWh of electricity has been generated from a renewable source. SmartestEnergy buy these certificates from independent generators.

Renewables Obligation

A subsidy scheme which helped ensure the deployment of renewable generation. This is now closed to new projects, but end consumers still pay to cover the costs of the scheme which will continue to support generators for a number of years.

Residual Emissions

Emissions which it is either not possible or too expensive to reduce to zero. These will require offsetting to achieve net-zero.

 

S

Science Based Targets

Decarbonisation targets which aim to achieve the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to less than 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Smart Appliances

Electrical goods able to reduce demand when required, either by reacting to a signal or by being programmed.

Sustainability

The act of ensuring process or operations can continue indefinitely with minimal impacts on their related environments and economies.

Synchronicity

Keeping power generators in a complementary state, which can help reduce both the frequency of blackouts and the cost of electricity, as well as offer an improved plan for handling intermittent power sources of renewable energy, which can destabilize the network.

 

T

tCO2e (Tonnes of CO2 Equivalent)

The equivalent of 1 tonne of carbon dioxide. This is a standard unit for measuring national and international greenhouse gas emissions.

24/7/365 Renewables

Usage of renewable power evidenced by timestamped certificates, proving that specific types of generation were putting power onto the energy system at the time of the end-user's consumption.

 

U

Unabated Fossil Fuels

The way in which fossil fuels have historically been burned - without carbon capture, usage and storage.

 

V

V2G (Vehicle-to-Grid)

Where energy in electric vehicles can be fed back into the energy system to help supply energy at peak times of demand, or where excess energy on the system can be used to charge electric vehicles where there is an over-supply.

Virtual Power Plant (VPP)

A grouping of Distributed Energy Resources (DER) which optimise the generation and consumption of electricity, ultimately aimed at minimising the impacts of the VPP on the energy grid.

 

W

Whole System

The way to describe everything associated with the generation and use of energy, alongside the emission of greenhouse gases; including systems such as transport, water, waste and hydrogen.

 

Z

Zero Carbon

Operations or processes resulting in the release of no carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.