Glossary

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Browse terms related to these fuel groups:   alternative fuels    coal     electricity     natural gas     nuclear     petroleum    renewable

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Lamp:  A term generally used to describe artificial light. The term is often used when referring to a "bulb" or "tube."

Land use:  The ultimate uses to be permitted for currently contaminated lands, waters, and structures at each Department of Energy installation. Land-use decisions will strongly influence the cost of environmental management.

Land-use restrictions:  Constraints placed upon mining by societal policies to protect surface features or entities that could be affected by mining. Because laws and regulations may be modified or repealed, the restrictions, including industrial and environmental restrictions, are subject to change.

Landfill gas:  Gas that is generated by decomposition of organic material at landfill disposal sites. The average composition of landfill gas is approximately 50 percent methane and 50 percent carbon dioxide and water vapor by volume. The methane percentage, however, can vary from 40 to 60 percent, depending on several factors including waste composition (e.g. carbohydrate and cellulose content). The methane in landfill gas may be vented, flared, combusted to generate electricity or useful thermal energy on-site, or injected into a pipeline for combustion off-site.

Langley:  A unit or measure of solar radiation; 1 calorie per square centimeter or 3.69 Btu per square foot.

Large passenger car:  A passenger car with more than 120 cubic feet of interior passenger and luggage volume.

Large pickup truck:  A pickup truck weighing between 4,500-8,500 lbs gross vehicle weight (GVW).

Latitude and longitude:  The distance on the earth's surface measured, respectively, north or south of the equator and east or west of the standard meridian, expressed in angular degrees, minutes, and seconds.

lb:   Pound

LDC:  See Local Distribution Company.

Leachate:  The liquid that has percolated through the soil or other medium.

Lead acid battery:  An electrochemical battery that uses lead and lead oxide for electrodes and sulfuric acid for the electrolyte.

Leaded gasoline:  A fuel that contains more than0.05 gram of lead per gallon or more than 0.005 gram of phosphorus per gallon.

Leaded premium gasoline:  Gasoline having an antiknock index (R+M/2) greater than 90 and containing more than 0.05 grams of lead or 0.005 grams of phosphorus per gallon.

Leaded regular gasoline:  Gasoline having an antiknock index (R+M/2) greater than or equal to 87 and less than or equal to 90 and containing more than 0.05 grams of lead or 0.005 grams of phosphorus per gallon.

Leading edge:  In reference to a wind energy conversion system, the area of a turbine blade surface that first comes into contact with the wind.

Lease and plant fuel:  Natural gas used in well, field, and lease operations (such as gas used in drilling operations, heaters, dehydrators, and field compressors) and as fuel in natural gas processing plants.

Lease condensate:  Light liquid hydrocarbons recovered from lease separators or field facilities at associated and non-associated natural gas wells. Mostly pentanes and heavier hydrocarbons. Normally enters the crude oil stream after production.

Lease equipment:  All equipment located on the lease except the well to the point of the "Christmas tree."

Lease fuel:  Natural gas used in well, field, and lease operations, such as gas used in drilling operations, heaters, dehydrators, and field compressors.

Lease operations:  Any well, lease, or field operations related to the exploration for or production of natural gas prior to delivery for processing or transportation out of the field. Gas used in lease operations includes usage such as for drilling operations, heaters, dehydraters, field compressors, and net used for gas lift.

Lease separation facility:  A facility installed at the surface for the purpose of (a) separating gases from produced crude oil and water at the temperature and pressure conditions set by the separator and/or (b) separating gases from that portion of the produced natural gas stream that liquefies at the temperature and pressure conditions set by the separator.

Lease separator:  A facility installed at the surface for the purpose of separating the full well stream volume into two or three parts at the temperature and pressure conditions set by the separator. For oil wells, these parts include produced crude oil, natural gas, and water. For gas wells, these parts include produced natural gas, lease condensate, and water.

Leasehold reserves:  Natural gas liquid reserves corresponding to the leasehold production defined above.

Lessee:  An independent marketer who leases the station and land and has use of tanks, pumps, signs, etc. A lessee dealer typically has a supply agreement with a refiner or distributor and purchases products at dealer tank-wagon prices. The term "lessee dealer" is limited to those dealers who are supplied directly by are finer or any affiliate or subsidiary of the reporting company. "Direct supply" includes use of commission agent or common carrier delivery.

Levelized cost:  The present value of the total cost of building and operating a generating plant over its economic life, converted to equal annual payments. Costs are levelized in real dollars (i.e., adjusted to remove the impact of inflation).

Leverage ratio:  A measure that indicates the financial ability to meet debt service requirements and increase the value of the investment to the stockholders. (i.e., the ratio of total debt to total assets).

LEVP:   Low Emissions Vehicle Program.

LHV:   Lower Heating Value.

Liability:  An amount payable in dollars or by future services to be rendered.

Licensed site capacity:  Capacity (number of assemblies) for which the site is currently licensed.

Licensees:  Entity that has been granted permission to engage in an activity otherwise unlawful (i.e., hydropower project).

Life extension:  Restoration or refurbishment of a plant to its original performance without the installation of new combustion technologies. Life extension results in 10 to 20 years of plant life beyond the anticipated retirement date, but usually does not result in larger capacity.

Lift:  The force that pulls a wind turbine blade, as opposed to drag.

Lifting costs:  The costs associated with the extraction of a mineral reserve from a producing property.

Light bulbs:  A term generally used to describe a man-made source of light. The term is often used when referring to a "bulb" or "tube".

Light gas oils:  Liquid petroleum distillates heavier than naphtha, with an approximate boiling range from 401 degrees to 650 degrees Fahrenheit.

Light rail:  An electric railway with a "light volume" traffic capacity compared to "heavy rail." Light rail may use exclusive or shared rights-of-way, high or low platform loading, and multi-car trains or single cars. Also known as "street car," "trolley car," and "tramway."

Light trucks:  All single unit two-axle, four-tire trucks, including pickup trucks, sports utility vehicles, vans, motor homes, etc. This is the Department of Transportation definition. The Energy Information Administration defined light truck as all trucks weighing 8,500 pounds or less.

Light water:  Ordinary water (H2O), as distinguished from heavy water or deuterium oxide (D2O).

Light water reactor (LWR):  A nuclear reactor that uses water as the primary coolant and moderator, with slightly enriched uranium as fuel.

Light-duty vehicles:  Vehicles weighing less than 8,500 lbs (include automobiles, motorcycles, and light trucks).

Lighting conservation feature:  A building feature or practice designed to reduce the amount of energy consumed by the lighting system.

Lighting Demand-Side Management (DSM) program:  ADSM program designed to promote efficient lighting systems in new construction or existing facilities. Lighting DSM programs can include: certain types of high-efficiency fluorescent fixtures including T-8 lamp technology, solid state electronic ballasts, specular reflectors, compact fluorescent fixtures, LED and electro-luminescent Emergency Exist Signs, High Pressure Sodium with switchable ballasts, Compact Metal Halide, occupancy sensors, and daylighting controllers.

Lighting equipment:  These are light bulbs used to light the building's interior, such as incandescent light bulbs, fluorescent light bulbs, compact fluorescent light bulbs, and high-intensity discharge (HID) lights.

Lights:  All of the light bulbs controlled by one switch are counted as one light. For example, a chandelier with multiple lights controlled by one switch is counted as one light. A floor lamp with two separate globes or bulbs controlled by two separate switches would be counted as two lights. Indoor and outdoor lights were counted if they were under the control of the householder. This would exclude lights in the hallway of multi-family buildings.

Lignite:  The lowest rank of coal, often referred to as brown coal, used almost exclusively as fuel for steam-electric power generation. It is brownish-black and has a high inherent moisture content, sometimes as high as 45 percent The heat content of lignite ranges from 9 to 17 million Btu per ton on a moist, mineral-matter-free basis. The heat content of lignite consumed in the United States averages 13 million Btu per ton, on the as-received basis (i.e. containing both inherent moisture and mineral matter).

LIHEAP:  Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

Line loss:  Electric energy lost because of the transmission of electricity. Much of the loss is thermal in nature.

Line-miles of seismic exploration:  The distance along the Earth's surface that is covered by seismic surveying.

Liquefied natural gas (LNG):  Natural gas (primarily methane) that has been liquefied by reducing its temperature to -260 degrees Fahrenheit at atmospheric pressure.

Liquefied petroleum gases (LPG):  A group of hydrocarbon gases, primarily propane, normal butane, and isobutane, derived from crude oil refining or natural gas processing. These gases may be marketed individually or mixed. They can be liquefied through pressurization (without requiring cryogenic refrigeration) for convenience of transportation or storage. Excludes ethane and olefins. Note: In some EIA publications, LPG includes ethane and marketed refinery olefin streams, in accordance with definitions used prior to January 2014.

Liquefied refinery gases (LRG):  Hydrocarbon gas liquids produced in refineries from processing of crude oil and unfinished oils. They are retained in the liquid state through pressurization and/or refrigeration. The reported categories include ethane, propane, normal butane, isobutane, and refinery olefins (ethylene, propylene, butylene, and isobutylene).

Liquid collector:  A medium-temperature solar thermal collector, employed predominantly in water heating, which uses pumped liquid as the heat-transfer medium.

Liquid fuels:  All petroleum including crude oil and products of petroleum refining, natural gas liquids, biofuels, and liquids derived from other hydrocarbon sources (including coal to liquids and gas to liquids). Not included are liquefied natural gas (LNG) and liquid hydrogen. See petroleum and other liquids.

Liquid metal fast breeder reactor:  A nuclear breeder reactor, cooled by molten sodium, in which fission is caused by fast neutrons.

LNG:  See Liquefied Natural Gas.

Load (electric):  An end-use device or customer that receives power from the electric system. Source: Glossary of Terms Used in NERC Reliability Standards.

Load control program:  A program in which the utility company offers a lower rate in return for having permission to turn off the air conditioner or water heater for short periods of time by remote control. This control allows the utility to reduce peak demand.

Load curve:  The relationship of power supplied to the time of occurrence. Illustrates the varying magnitude of the load during the period covered.

Load diversity:  The difference between the peak of coincident and noncoincident demands of two or more individual loads.

Load factor:  The ratio of the average load to peak load during a specified time interval.

Load following:  Regulation of the power output of electric generators within a prescribed area in response to changes in system frequency, tie line loading, or the relation of these to each other, so as to maintain the scheduled system frequency and/or established interchange with other areas within predetermined limits.

Load leveling:  Any load control technique that dampens the cyclical daily load flows and increases baseload generation. Peak load pricing and time-of-day charges are two techniques that electric utilities use to reduce peak load and to maximize efficient generation of electricity.

Load loss (3 hours):  Any significant incident on an electric utility system that results in a continuous outage of 3 hours or longer to more than 50,000 customers or more than one half of the total customers being served immediately prior to the incident, whichever is less.

Load management technique:  Utility demand management practices directed at reducing the maximum kilowatt demand on an electric system and/or modifying the coincident peak demand of one or more classes of service to better meet the utility system capability for a given hour, day, week, season, or year.

Load on equipment:  One hundred percent load is the maximum continuous net output of the unit at normal operating conditions during the annual peak load month. For example, if the equipment is capable of operating at 5% over pressure continuously, use this condition for 100% load.

Load reduction request:  The issuance of any public or private request to any customer or the general public to reduce the use of electricity for the reasons of maintaining the continuity of service of the reporting entity's bulk electric power supply system. Requests to a customer(s) served under provisions of an interruptible contract are not a reportable action unless the request is made for reasons of maintaining the continuity of service of the reporting entity's bulk electric power supply.

Load shape:  A method of describing peak load demand and the relationship of power supplied to the time of occurrence.

Load shedding:  Intentional action by a utility that results in the reduction of more than 100 megawatts (MW) of firm customer load for reasons of maintaining the continuity of service of the reporting entity's bulk electric power supply system. The routine use of load control equipment that reduces firm customer load is not considered to be a reportable action.

Load-serving entity (electric):  Secures energy and transmission service (and related Interconnect Operations Services) to serve the electrical demand and energy requirements of its end-use customers. See NERC definition.

Local distribution company (LDC):  A legal entity engaged primarily in the retail sale and/or delivery of natural gas through a distribution system that includes main lines (that is, pipelines designed to carry large volumes of gas, usually located under roads or other major right-of-ways) and laterals (that is, pipelines of smaller diameter that connect the end user to the mainline). Since there structuring of the gas industry, the sale of gas and/or delivery arrangements may be handled by other agents, such as producers, brokers, and marketers that are referred to as "non-LDC."

Long ton:  A unit that equals 20 long hundred weight or 2,240 pounds. Used mainly in England.

Long-term debt:  Debt securities or borrowing shaving a maturity of more than one year.

Long-term purchase:  A purchase contract under which at least one delivery of material is scheduled to occur during the second calendar year after the contract-signing year. Deliveries also can occur during the contract-signing year, during the first calendar year there after, or during any subsequent calendar year.

Longwall mining:  An automated form of underground coal mining characterized by high recovery and extraction rates, feasible only in relatively flat-lying, thick, and uniform coalbeds. A high-powered cutting machine is passed across the exposed face of coal, shearing away broken coal, which is continuously hauled away by a floor-level conveyor system. Longwall mining extracts all machine-minable coal between the floor and ceiling within a contiguous block of coal, known as a panel, leaving no support pillars within the panel area. Panel dimensions vary over time and with mining conditions but currently average about 900 feet wide (coal face width) and more than 8,000 feet long (the minable extent of the panel, measured indirection of mining). Longwall mining is done under movable roof supports that are advanced as the bed is cut. The roof in the mined-out area is allowed to fall as the mining advances.

Loop flow:  The movement of electric power from generator to load by dividing along multiple parallel paths; it especially refers to power flow along an un intended path that loops away from the most direct geographic path or contract path.

Loss of service (15 minutes):  Any loss in service for greater than 15 minutes by an electric utility of firm loads totaling more than 200 MW, or 50 percent of the total load being supplied immediately prior to the incident, whichever is less. However, utilities with a peak load in the prior year of more than 3000 MW are only to report losses of service to firm loads totaling more than 300 MW for greater than 15 minutes. (The DOE shall be notified with service restoration and in any event, within three hours after the beginning of the interruption.)

Low Btu gas:  A fuel gas with a heating value between 90 and 200 Btu per cubic foot.

Low E glass:  Low-emission glass reflects up to 90% of long-wave radiation, which is heat, but lets in short-wave radiation, which is light. Windows are glazed with a coating that bonds a microscopic, transparent, metallic substance to the inside surface of the double-pane or triple-pane windows.

Low flow showerheads:  Reduce the amount of water flow through the showerhead from 5 to 6 gallons a minute to 3 gallons a minute.

Low flush toilet:  A toilet that uses less water than a standard one during flushing, for the purpose of conserving water resources.

Low head:  Vertical difference of 100 feet or less in the upstream surface water elevation (headwater) and the downstream surface water elevation (tailwater) at a dam.

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP):  The purpose of LIHEAP is to assist eligible households to meet the cost of heating or cooling in residential dwellings. The Federal government provides the funds to the States that administer the program.

Low power testing:  The period of time between a plant's nuclear generating unit's initial fuel loading date and the issuance of its operating (full-power) license. The maximum level of operation during this period is 5 percent of the unit's thermal rating.

Low sulfur diesel (LSD) fuel:  Diesel fuel containing more than 15 but less than 500 parts per million (ppm) sulfur.

Low temperature collectors:  Metallic or nonmetallic collectors that generally operate at temperatures below 110 degrees Fahrenheit and use pumped liquid or air as the heat transfer medium. They usually contain no glazing and no insulation, and they are often made of plastic or rubber, although some are made of metal.

Low volatile bituminous coal:  See Bituminous Coal.

Low-pressure sodium lamp:  A type of lamp that produces light from sodium gas contained in a bulb operating at apartial pressure of 0.13 to 1.3 Pascal. The yellow light and large size make them applicable to lighting streets and parking lots.

LPG:  See Liquefied Petroleum Gases.

LRG:  See Liquefied Refinery Gases.

Lubricants:  Substances used to reduce friction between bearing surfaces, or incorporated into other materials used as processing aids in the manufacture of other products, or used as carriers of other materials. Petroleum lubricants may be produced either from distillates or residues. Lubricants include all grades of lubricating oils, from spindle oil to cylinder oil to those used in greases.

Lumen:  An empirical measure of the quantity of light. It is based upon the spectral sensitivity of the photosensors in the human eye under high (daytime) light levels. Photometrically it is the luminous flux emitted with a solid angle (1 steradian) by a point source having a uniform luminous intensity of 1 candela.

Lumens/Watt (lpw):  A measure of the efficacy (efficiency) of lamps. It indicates the amount of light (lumens) emitted by the lamp for each unit of electrical power (Watts) used.

LWR:  See Light Water Reactor.