I went looking for sites about what role energy actually plays in rituals and spells and couldn't find anything worth linking you to.
The way I see it is energy is your intent manifested. When you raise energy in ritual, you are raising energy to aid in your intent. As you raise it, you focus your intent, when you release your energy (or cone) and send it off, the energy is focused toward completing your goal.
That's the way I see it, at least.