The problem of attaining energy efficiency in distributed systems is of importance, but a general, non-domain-specific theory of energy-minimal scheduling is far from developed. In this paper, we classify the problems of energy-minimal scheduling and present theoretical foundations of the same. We derive results concerning energy-minimal scheduling of independent jobs in a distributed system with functionally similar machines with different working and idle power ratings. The machines considered in our system can have identical as well as different speeds. If the jobs can be divided into arbitrary parts, we show that the minimum-energy schedule can be generated in linear time and give exact scheduling algorithms. For the cases where jobs are non-divisible, we prove that the scheduling problems are NP-hard and also give approximation algorithmsfor the same along with their bounds.