Power and Energy Primer

Whatever your background may be, it's good to review the basics. Our Power and Energy Primer will provide an overview of the building blocks of our energy system. 

Power and Energy Primer: Introduction

Our Power and Energy Primer will provide an overview of the building blocks of our energy system. This introduction lays out the difference between power and energy.

Part 1: The Light Bulb and the Electric Bill

An example to show why to consider investing in energy efficiency upgrades before installing a solar PV system.


Part 2: Loads and Peaks

How much power does your house need? And how can you reduce your power demand? Peak loads, load-shifting, and power planning.


Part 3: Load Curves and Generation

Utilities need to have enough power plants to meet peak demand at the time it is called for, or they risk causing a blackout.


Part 4: Energy Flow, Source and Site Energy

Site energy can measure the overall efficiency of your home, but does NOT tell you how much raw material was required to deliver that energy to your house.


Part 5: An Introduction to Power Quality

Energy consumers have come to expect a certain level of stable and continuous electrical power quality.


Part 6: Direct and Alternating Current

In DC, the electrons flow from - to +.  AC is more complicated: the current flows in both directions, alternately reversing direction at regular intervals.


Part 7: Power Factor in Alternating Current

Some AC devices require more power than they need to perform work. How does this affect your utility and your electric bill?

Power, Energy, and Policy: Looking Ahead

The difference between power and energy underlies the services we receive from the electricity grid, which provide context for debates about how our current system should evolve.