Renewable vs Non-renewable Energy: Difference and Comparison

Our Mother Earth provides many resources and energies to humans without exchange with anything else. These resources are replenished by the earth itself over the years, months, or weeks.

Some of them are – air, water, food resources, minerals, raw materials, and many more things that are not even counted. Because of these resources themselves, the human population on the earth exists.

Key Takeaways

  1. Renewable energy is generated from natural sources that can be replenished over time, such as solar, wind, and hydropower.
  2. Non-renewable energy comes from finite sources, such as coal, oil, and natural gas, and will eventually be depleted.
  3. While non-renewable energy sources are still the dominant form of energy production globally, the increasing availability and affordability of renewable energy technologies make them more popular.

Renewable Energy vs Non-Renewable Energy

The difference between Renewable Energy and Non-Renewable Energy is that Renewable energy sources can be replaced over and over again in nature itself. These are also said to be present in the excess or infinite form and the cleanest source of energy. Whereas comparatively on the other side, non-renewable energy sources are energy that cannot be replenished or refilled on their own by nature. These energy forms are limited in nature and are not the cleanest source.

Renewable Energy vs Non Renewable Energy
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Science Quiz

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After a chemical reaction, the properties of the products are __________.

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Permanent hardness of water may be removed by the addition of

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Which of the gas is not known as green house gas?

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A bond that occurs between nonmetals and nonmetals is called a/an _________.

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The filament of an electric bulb is made of

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Galvanised iron sheets have a coating of

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Renewable energy is a source of energy that is present in nature and is available to the human population without any additional cost. In simple terms, it is free for all.

These are the cleanest energy source and is refilled when required. Some examples of the same are – wind, air, water, sunlight, tidal energy, solar energy, geothermal energy, etc.

Non-renewable energy is a source of energy that is also present in nature and is available to the human population, but the difference is that the quantity of these resources is limited and can be finished by overexploitation.

These resources took over millions of years to get replenished or refilled by nature, which is why it is asked for sustainable use of them.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonRenewable EnergyNon-Renewable Energy
DefinitionEnergy resources are refilled by the earth whenever in need.Energy resources that are not refilled whenever in need.
Depletion No depletion and can be consumedDepleted by the excess consumption
Impact on EnvironmentLow carbon footprintHigh carbon footprint
Area Required Requirement of large area  Requirement of small area
Upfront Cost A huge lump sum of money is required.Low amount of money required
InfrastructureHighLow
ExampleSun, wind, air, water, vegetation, tidal energy, geothermal energyMinerals, ores, fossil fuels like – coal, petroleum
ConsumptionNon-exhaustibleExhaustible
Economically UseIt cannot be used economically.It can be used economically and is also the need of the hour.

What is Renewable Energy?

The energy source that is being replenished or restored by the earth whenever in need is known as renewable energy. The renewable energy that is available and accessible is the purest and the cleanest form of energy that is found.

Some examples of renewable energy are – sunlight, water, air, wind, tidal energy, geothermal energy, biomass, etc.

The advantage of using renewable energy sources is that they are available and accessible in large quantities and are free for all. This energy produces very little carbon, which is why they have less carbon footprint and are greener and environment-friendly.

The production and infrastructure provide lakhs of jobs to people that, by using these energies, lead to a reduction in utility bills.

The disadvantage of using renewable energy sources is that it requires a high cost to get set up with a large area of land. Energy like – solar power can be used only in summer or daytime and not in the rainy or winter season or at night. 

renewable energy

What is Non-Renewable Energy?

The energy source that is being used and cannot be replenished or restored whenever required is known as non-renewable energy. Non-renewable energy takes over millions and thousands of years to restore the earth naturally.

Examples of non-renewable energy are – minerals, ores, coal, petroleum, diesel, nuclear energy, etc.

The advantage of using non-renewable energy is that it is affordable and cheaper to use. Small nuclear energy can largely produce a high amount of energy source. Also, it is cheaper to convert energy from one form to another.

The disadvantage of using non-renewable energy is that it is very limited in quantity. The emission of carbon is very high, and that is why it is an impure form of energy and is not considered environmentally friendly.   

non renewable energy

Main Differences Between Renewable and Non-Renewable Energy

  1. Renewable energy is the energy source that is refilled by nature itself whenever in need, whereas comparatively, on the other side, non-renewable energy is the energy source that is not refilled by nature whenever in need because it takes over millions of years to get restored.
  2. Renewable energy is the source that has been used regularly and can never get vanished or be finished, whereas comparatively, on the other side, non-renewable energy is the source that, if used in regular form, may deplete them completely and there won’t be anything left for the future generation.
  3. The carbon emission caused by renewable energy sources is less, which is why they are considered as the cleanest energy forms whereas comparatively, on the other side, the carbon emission caused by non-renewable energy sources is very high so that the carbon footprint, which is why they are the impure form of energy. 
  4. To produce energy from renewable energy sources, a large area is required, whereas comparatively, on the other hand, to produce non-renewable energy large area is not required. 
  5. For the production of renewable energy sources, the upfront cost invested is very high, which is unlike for the production of non-renewable energy resources, as only a small amount of money is required or invested. 
  6. The infrastructure cost requirement is high for that renewable producing energy, while the infrastructure head cost is low for non-renewable energy sources.
  7. Examples of renewable energy sources are – sunlight, wind, air, water, heat, geothermal energy, tidal energy, etc., whereas comparatively, the examples of non-renewable energy sources are – minerals, ores, fossil fuels like – coal, petroleum, diesel, etc.
  8. Renewable energy sources are said to be non-exhaustible, while non-renewable energy sources are said to be an exhaustible source of energy. 
  9. The use of renewable energy sources is not economical, while comparatively, on the other hand, the use of non-renewable energy sources must be sustainable and economical, which is now the need for the hour.  
Difference Between Renewable and Non renewable Energy
References
  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960148116306930
  2. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12667-011-0037-6
  3. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140988311000909
  4. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301420718306573

Last Updated : 24 July, 2023

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