May 29, 2017

Gas Energy Terms

Bcf– One billion cubic feet, a common measure of natural gas (see Cubic Foot).

British Thermal Unit (Btu)– The quantity of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit at a specified temperature. When it comes to natural gas, Btu’s are divided into “dry” and “saturated.” Natural gas that is moisture-free, or that contains less than seven pounds of water vapor per Mcf, is measured in dry Btu’s; when natural gas is fully saturated with water vapor, under standard temperature, pressure and gravity conditions, it is measured in saturated Btu’s.

Cubic Foot– The standard size of a New York apartment closet. Well, okay, it’s a measure of natural gas volume, referring to the amount of gas needed to fill one cubic foot at standard atmospheric pressure and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. A cubic foot of gas contains approximately 1,000 Btu’s, which is enough gas to boil a heckuva big pot of water.

Gigajoule– A unit of energy that equals 943,213.3 Btu’s. That’s enough gas to heat up a bigger bunch of water, like maybe a swimming pool.

Mcf– One thousand cubic feet, generally of natural gas (see Cubic Foot).

MMBtu– One million British thermal units (Btu’s), also known as one dekatherm. It is equal to approximately 1,000 cubic feet of natural gas — enough energy to bring 800 gallons of water to a boil, or heat up 12,800 cups of coffee. In teaspoons…oh, never mind!

Mmcf– One million cubic feet, usually of natural gas.

Quad– One quadrillion British thermal units (Btu’s), or the energy equivalent of 170 million barrels of oil. In a typical year, the United States uses an average of 83 quads.

Therm– A unit of heating value equal to 100,000 Btu’s.

 

Electric Measurement Terms

Gigajoule– A unit of energy that equals 943,213.3 Btu’s.

Gigawatt (GW)– One billion watts. Gigawatt-hour (GWh) – One billion watt-hours.

Joule– A measure of energy equal to one watt-second, or one watt of power supplied to, or taken from, an electrical circuit steadily for one second.

Kilovolt (kV)– Electrical potential equal to 1,000 volts. Most car batteries are 12-volt, so 1 kV is the juice that could be produced by 83.3 car batteries.

Kilowatt (kW)– A unit of electric power equal to 1,000 watts. One kilowatt can light up ten 100-watt light bulbs.

Kilowatt-hour (kWh)– The basic unit for pricing electricity. A kilowatt-hour is equivalent to one kilowatt of power used for one hour. That’s enough juice to run an average home for a day, give or take shutting off an air conditioner or two. It equals 1,000 watt-hours and is the equivalent of 3,412 Btu’s of energy.

Megawatt (MW)– One thousand kilowatts. One megawatt-hour is enough power to service 1,000 homes for about one day.

Watt– The basic unit for measuring volume of electricity. Technically, it’s the power produced by a current of one ampere across a potential difference of one volt. For those who care, there are at least 135,000 ways to scientifically or mathematically define potential difference.

  • Gigawatt (GW) – One billion watts.
  • Gigawatt-hour (GWh) – One billion watt-hours.
  • Kilowatt (kW) – A unit of electrical power equal to 1,000 watts.
  • Kilowatt-hour (kWh) – The basic unit for pricing electricity, a kilowatt-hour is equivalent to one kilowatt of power used for one hour.
  • Megawatt (MW) – A megawatt equals 1,000 kilowatts.
  • Terawatt-hours (TWh) – Equal to 1,000 gigawatt-hours, the ter-awatt is a commonly used energy yardstick in Europe.
  • Watt-hour (Wh) – One watt of power supplied to or taken from a circuit for one hour.

*This glossary of Gas & Electric terms has been provided by Aquila.