This section deals with the answers to the questions we frequently receive from users. It is a summary of definitions, explanations and acronyms pertaining to the energy context.


    The ratio of the actual output of a power plant over a given period of time and its potential output when operating at a full nameplate capacity during the same period.


    An acid oxide composed by a carbon atom combined with two oxygen atoms. It is essential to the life of plants and animals.

    It is the second most abundant greenhouse gas in the earth's atmosphere after water steam. 


    A colorless, odorless, tasteless and poisonous gas resulting from incomplete combustion of organic fuels.


    EMAS (Eco-Management and Audit Scheme) is a EU Regulation issued in 1993. In January 2010 EC Regulation n.1221/2009, i.e. EMAS III, entered into force including ISO 14001. It is a voluntary compliance tool to improve the environmental performance and disclose results on a proper environmental management.


    They are based on an incentive scheme aiming at fostering electricity generation from renewable sources. Their market has been developed in many countries including Italy where they have been issued by GSE, the national grid operator, upon renewable energy producers’ request till December 31st 2015.

    From January 1st 2016 this mechanism has been replaced by a new kind of incentive, obtained through GRIN, GSE’s computer-based system dealing with tariffs’ recognition.


    In terms of installed generation capacity and energy efficiency, hydropower is the most exploited renewable energy source in the world.

    This is also the case of Italy, thanks to a suitable land’s nature and water availability.

    The operating principle of a hydropower plant is very simple: mechanical energy turns into electricity.

    The potential energy of the water coming from high altitudes, moving downstream through small rivers, canals and waterways, is converted into electrical energy through special turbines. The primary source is the rainwater.


    A hydroelectric power plant consists of:

    • a water collection system, suitable to soil’s nature and watercourse bed
    • a pipe, conveying water
    • a turbine, transforming potential water energy into mechanical energy
    • a generator, converting mechanical energy into electrical energy
    • a control and regulation system monitoring water flow.

    Hydropower plants fall into 3 basic groups:

    • Run-of-river power stations:  when plants are located on the waterway
    • Power stations with reservoir: when water is stored in a basin/reservoir through a dam. This is the most common hydropower plant scheme.
    • Pumped-storage power stations: when plants pump water uphill to a reservoir at a higher level than the lower. 
  • ISO 14001:2015

    A voluntary international standard applicable to any type of public or private organization specifying the requirements for an environmental management system. It is a set of processes, procedures, tools, models put in place by an organization to meet the requirements of international standards.

    The certified organizations are strongly committed to limit the direct and indirect environmental impacts, improve the emissions’ reduction encouraging recycle and best environmental practices.

  • ISO 9001:2015

    The best-known standard for quality management system worldwide. It is a rule for the continuous and constant improvement of the company, aiming to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of internal processes optimizing the business structure. This certification can be renewed on a regularly base of three years.


    An agreement linked to UN Framework Convention on Climate Change established with the objective of reducing greenhouse gases causing climate change.

    It was signed in the Japanese city of Kyoto on December 11th 1997 by more than 160 countries at the third Conference of the Parties (COP3). The protocol entered into force on February 16th 2005 after Russia’s ratification.


    A gas composed by the binary compound of oxygen and nitrogen and produced during combustion, especially at high temperature (typically from wood-burning fireplaces, car engines and thermoelectric plants).

    The quantity and quality of NOx’ mix depends on the type of burned substance and the conditions upon which burning occurs.


    The rate of doing work and the amount of energy consumed per unit of time.

    Power is generally indicated in Watt (W). Its multiples are: kiloWatt (KW), equal to 1,000 Watt; MegaWatt (MW), equal to 1,000 kiloWatt; GigaWatt  (GW), equal to 1,000 MW and Therawatt (TW) equal to 1,000 GW.


    A transmission line is a system used to carry out electricity over distances. The way transmission lines are built depends on the operating voltage and on the type of current, i.e. DC (Direct Current) or AC (Alternating Current).

    Overhead power lines are made of steel towers or metal masts keeping cables at a safe height. Medium-voltage power lines are simpler and have a lower dimension.

    Submarine high voltage cables represent another type of special power lines.

    A standard power transmission line is made of support structures, cables and insulated elements.

    Power lines can be classified as per their operating voltage. They can be classified as:

    • extra high-voltage lines (380kV), used for long distance power transmission
    • high-voltage lines (220kV and 132 kV), used for the distribution of electricity. Large consumers (i.e. energy-intensive industries) may be directly supplied at a 132KV voltage
    • medium voltage lines (generally 15 kV), used to supply industries, shopping malls, large buildings
    • low voltage lines (220-380V), used to supply small consumers, such as residentials.

    The Renewable Energy Certificate System (RECS for short) is a voluntary mechanism for international trade in renewable energy certificates.

    RECs certify the production of electricity from renewable sources for a minimum size of 1 MWh. These certificates promote “green” power generation by plants whose generation would be uneconomical.

    Renewable energy sources include: solar, wind, geothermal, hydro, biomass, etc.


    Solar energy is among the cleanest and most abundant renewable energy sources available.

    It is the result of the sun's radiation and is converted into thermal or electrical energy.

    Modern technology harness this power for a variety of uses, including electricity for domestic, commercial, or industrial use.

    There are several ways to harness solar energy: photovoltaics , solar heating & cooling and Concentrating Solar Power (CSP for short).

    Solar industry is working to scale up the production of solar technology, and drive down manufacturing and installation costs.


    A person, group or organization having an interest or concern in a Company.

    Stakeholders can affect or be affected by the company’s actions, objectives, policies and can be involved in relevant decisions. They are mainly shareholders, employees, customers, suppliers, public institutions, local communities, media, interest groups and even competitors.


    A colorless and very soluble gas. It is one of the main air pollutants. It is the result of the combustion of fossil fuels (either coal or oil derivatives) where sulfur is present as impurity.


    A unit defining the amount of energy released by burning one ton of crude oil. By convention, the combustion of the latter is equal to 10 million kilocalories (kcal).

  • WATT (W)

    The standard unit of power in the International System of Units (SI). It measures electrical energy and  is equal to one Joule per second.


    The energy produced by 1 Watt/hour. 1 Watt-hour is equal to 3,600 Joules (1 Wh = 1 W × 3,600 s = 3,600 W/s = 3,600 J).


    Wind energy is the result of the conversion of wind’s kinetic power into other forms. Its exploitation is rather simple and obtained through wind farms: wind’s energy turns two/three propeller-like blades around a rotor which is connected to the main shaft, spinning a generator to create electricity.

    Modern wind turbines fall into two basic groups:

    • the horizontal-axis variety
    • the vertical-axis design

    Wind turbines (WTGs for short) can be built either on land (onshore WTGs) or in large water pools such as oceans and lakes (offshore WTGs).

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