Glossary of Energy Terms
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Note: No entries for Y or Z.
QUAD -- One quadrillion (1015 or 1,000,000,000,000,000) British thermal units (Btus). An amount of energy equal to 170 million barrels of oil. Total U.S. consumption of all forms of energy is (in the 1990s) about 83 quads in an average year.
QUALIFYING FACILITY -- QFs are non-utility power producers that often generate electricity using renewable and alternative resources, such as hydro, wind, solar, geothermal or biomass (solid waste). QFs must meet certain operating, efficiency, and fuel-use standards set forth by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). If they meet these FERC standards, utilities must buy power from them. QFs usually have long-term contracts with utilities for the purchase of this power, which is among the utility's highest-priced resources.
QUALIFYING FACILITY (QF) -- Under PURPA, QFs were allowed to sell their electric output to the local utility at avoided cost rates. To become a QF, the independent power supplier had to produce electricity with a specified fuel type (cogeneration or renewables), and meet certain ownership, size, and efficiency criteria established by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.