Difference Between Renewable and Non-renewable Energy

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: October 05, 2022


Difference Between Renewable and Non-renewable Energy Difference Between Renewable and Non-renewable Energy

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So basically, Coal and petroleum, for example, are natural resources that have been created over millions of years. Also, Other resources, such as sunshine, existed prior to the formation of the world. Whatever the case may be, we are all reliant on these resources in some or the other way. These resources are actually called natural resources, and they are vital to life on the planet. Moreover, Natural resources are divided into two categories: renewable and non-renewable.

Renewable Energy vs Non-Renewable Energy

Now, Renewable resources are those that cannot be depleted even after continual use. The sun, wind, and tidal energy are all examples of renewable resources.

Furthermore, Non-renewable resources are those that cannot be replaced quickly once they have been depleted. Research shows, Fossil fuels such as coal, petroleum, and natural gas, along with rare minerals found in meteorites, are examples of non-renewable resources (Difference between Renewable and Non-renewable Resources, n.d.).

Difference Between Renewable and Non-renewable Energy in Tabular Form

Table: Renewable Energy vs Non-Renewable Energy
Parameters of Comparison
Renewable Energy
Non-Renewable Energy
The depletion
Resources that are renewable cannot be exhausted over time.
Resources that aren't renewable run out with time.
The sources
According to research,  Sunlight, water, wind, and geothermal sources such as hot springs and fumaroles are all renewable resources.
Also, the Fossil fuels like coal and petroleum are examples of non-renewable energy.
The environmental impact
So basically, the majority of renewable resources emit little carbon and have a small carbon footprint.
Non-renewable energy has a larger carbon footprint and emissions than renewable energy
The infrastructure requirements
Now, Renewable energy infrastructure is unreasonably expensive and difficult to obtain in most nations.
For non-renewable energy, most countries have a cost-effective and accessible infrastructure.
The cost
Also, Renewable energy has a high initial cost.
Non-renewable energy has a lower initial investment cost.
The area requirements
Now, Wind and solar farms, in particular, necessitate a large land/offshore area.
Area needs are lower in comparison.

What is Renewable Energy?

Renewable energy comes from natural resources that regenerate at a faster pace than they are depleted. Such sources as sunlight and wind, for example, are constantly renewed. Renewable energy sources abound, and they can be found all around us.

On the other hand, fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and gas are non-renewable resources that require hundreds of millions of years to create. When fossil fuels are used to generate energy, they emit dangerous greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide.

Burning fossil fuels produces significantly more emissions than generating renewable energy. Transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy, which now account for the majority of emissions, is critical to addressing the climate catastrophe.

Solar Energy

In most nations, renewables are now cheaper than fossil fuels, and they provide three times as many jobs.

Now, Solar energy is the most abundant of all energy sources, and it may be used even when the weather is gloomy. Solar energy is intercepted at a pace 10,000 times faster than human energy consumption.

Also, for a variety of purposes, solar systems can provide heat, cooling, natural lighting, power, and fuels. Moreover, Solar technologies turn sunlight into electrical energy by using photovoltaic panels or concentrating solar radiation with mirrors.

Although not all countries have equal access to solar energy, direct solar energy can make a major contribution to the energy mix in any country.

In the recent decade, the cost of producing solar panels has dropped drastically, making them not only accessible but often the cheapest form of energy. Solar panels have a 30-year lifespan and come in a variety of colours based on the type of material used in their production.

Wind Energy

Research states that Wind energy uses enormous wind turbines on land (onshore) or in sea- or freshwater to capture the kinetic energy of flowing air (offshore). Wind energy has been used for millennia, but in recent years, onshore and offshore wind energy technology has advanced to maximize the amount of electricity produced, with higher turbines and greater rotor diameters.

Now, despite the fact that average wind speeds vary greatly by location, the world's technical potential for wind energy exceeds worldwide electricity production, and there is sufficient potential in most locations of the world to permit major wind energy deployment.

Moreover, Wind speeds are significant in many places of the world, but the ideal spots for generating wind power are often remote. Plus, Offshore wind power has a lot of promise.

Geothermal Energy

Geothermal energy makes use of the thermal energy that exists within the Earth's interior. Wells or other methods are used to extract heat from geothermal sources.

Hydrothermal reservoirs are those that are naturally sufficiently hot and permeable, whereas enhanced geothermal systems are those that are suitably hot but can be improved with hydraulic stimulation.

Fluids of varied temperatures can be used to create energy once they reach the surface. Electricity generation from hydrothermal reservoirs is a mature and reliable technique that has been in use for over a century.

Hydropower Energy

Now, Hydropower uses the energy of water moving from higher to lower elevations to generate electricity. It is produced by reservoirs and rivers. Reservoir hydropower facilities use water stored in a reservoir, whereas run-of-river hydropower plants use the river's available flow to generate electricity.

Drinking water, irrigation water, flood and drought control, navigation services, and energy supply are all common purposes for hydropower reservoirs.

In the electricity industry, hydropower is currently the most common renewable energy source. It is reliant on typically steady rainfall patterns and can be harmed by climate-related droughts or ecological changes that affect rainfall patterns.

The infrastructure required to generate hydropower can have a negative influence on ecosystems. As a result, many people regard small-scale hydro to be a more environmentally benign option, especially for populations in rural areas.

Ocean Energy

Ocean energy is produced by devices that harness the kinetic and thermal energy of seawater - such as waves or currents - to generate electricity or heat.

The development of ocean energy systems is still in its early stages, with a number of prototype wave and tidal current devices being investigated. Ocean energy has a theoretical potential that easily exceeds current human energy requirements.


Bioenergy is made from a range of organic resources known as biomass, such as wood, charcoal, dung, and other manures, as well as agricultural crops for liquid biofuels. The majority of biomass is used for cooking, lighting, and space heating in rural regions, primarily by impoverished populations in developing countries.

Dedicated crops or trees, agricultural and forestry wastes, and diverse organic waste streams are all used in modern biomass systems.

Biomass energy produces greenhouse gas emissions, although at a lower level than fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and gas. However, given the possible negative environmental implications of large-scale increases in forest and bioenergy plantings, as well as the subsequent deforestation and land-use change, bioenergy should only be employed in limited applications (What is renewable energy?, n.d.).

What is Non-Renewable Energy?

Non-renewable energy is obtained from a resource that either cannot be replaced or can only be replaced slowly and gradually through natural processes. Fossil fuels such as coal, gas, and oils are examples of non-renewable resources. Because there is a finite quantity of uranium in the Earth's crust, nuclear energy is also considered a non-renewable source.

Fossil fuels are formed from the leftovers of dead plant and animal cells and require millions of years to develop. Fossil fuel generation in the earth's crust is a long-term process that should not be squandered.

Because of their affordability and the lengthy process involved in their production, fuels derived from non-renewable resources are the principal sources of all power generated worldwide. Non-renewable resources are usually made from organic materials that have been heated and compressed for a long time and then turned into crude oil and natural gas. Non-renewable energy is mostly made up of three types of fossil fuels. Apart from that, nuclear energy is another non-renewable energy source.

According to experts, Non-renewable energy also includes other minerals and metals found on the earth, such as gold, silver, iron, and other comparable materials. Because these elements are situated deep under the Earth's crust, they require a long time to produce and are frequently expensive to mine. They are, nevertheless, much more plentiful than fossil fuels.

Nuclear fuel is the fuel used to generate energy in nuclear reactors. One of the fuels utilized in nuclear reactors is uranium. It generates approximately 6% of global total energy and 13-14 percent of global electricity. According to research, Non-renewable materials have great energy content. When compared with renewable energy sources such as solar or wind, fossil fuels such as coal and oil tend to provide us with higher energy. Moreover, the Coal extraction, oil sales, and natural gas pipeline building can all yield a good amount of profit and benefit. These resources are simple to utilize in the home or elsewhere. Non-renewable resources are available at a low cost to consumers.

Also, New technologies and other energy sources are unable to replace traditional minerals such as coal and oil for some people. As a result, it is sometimes referred to as traditional energy.

Moreover, Non-renewable energy can be found just about anywhere. furthermore, this actually means they can be easily transported around the world. Non-renewable energy can even be used by people who live in difficult-to-access places as well. Non-renewable resources, above all, are employment creators. The parts of non-renewable sources that create employment are extraction, transportation, and refining. The majority of non-renewable resources are also quite simple to store.

According to studies, Non-renewable energy has several drawbacks, one of which is its time-consuming nature. All of the Coal mining, oil exploration, oil drilling, oil rig construction, and natural gas extraction and transportation are all time-consuming activities. Moreover, it also necessitates a significant amount of effort.

Because fossil fuels release chemicals like carbon monoxide, non-renewable energy can be harmful and cause respiratory difficulties in humans. Workers in the coal mines and oil rigs are more vulnerable to a variety of health hazards. As a result, a great number of infections, injuries, and even deaths have occurred. When coal, oil, and natural gas are burned, a huge amount of carbon dioxide is released. The ozone layer is quickly depleting as a result of these substances.

Non-renewable energy takes billions of years to create, therefore it is slowly but steadily disappearing from the planet. It may be selfish to use non-renewable resources indiscriminately without considering future generations. Sulphur oxide and other oxides generated by the combustion of fossil fuels turn rain into acidic rain, which is damaging to both wildlife and humans.

Smog is produced by a variety of non-renewable sources, which envelops the structures. People in modern cities, for the most part, complain about the same thing. Black smog can darken and pollute your building and other property over time.

Transporting non-renewable resources can be hazardous at times, as large cargo ships and oil tankers collide and spill their contents in the sea or elsewhere. It is potentially fatal to sea animals and humans that come into touch with it.

We need to keep a large amount of fuel in reserve at all times to keep the power station running. This can be costly and take up a lot of room (Non Renewable Energy, n.d.).

Main Differences Between Renewable and Non-Renewable Energy In Points

  • Now, Renewable resources are ones that can be replenished even after they have been fully utilized.
  • On the other hand, non-renewable resources cannot be restored or regained.
  • Solar energy, hydro energy, wind energy, geothermal energy, and biomass energy are all examples of renewable resources.
  • Fossil fuels, groundwater, mineral ores, and other non-renewable resources are examples.
  • Carbon emissions and footprints from renewable resources are typically modest.
  • Non-renewable resources have larger carbon emissions and footprints than renewable resources.
  • Costs are high; for example, the cost of generating power using renewable energy methods is generally higher than generating it using fossil fuels.
  • Non-renewable resources, on the other hand, have a cheap cost.
  • In many nations, infrastructure for the renewal process is very expensive and difficult to obtain. Non-renewable resources, on the other hand, have a cost-effective and accessible infrastructure in many countries


Henceforth, now we got to know the differences between renewable and non-renewable sources of energy in detail.


  • Differences between Renewable and Non-Renewable Resources of Energy. (n.d.). Retrieved from collegedunia: https://collegedunia.com/exams/differences-between-renewable-and-non-renewable-resources-of-energy-biology-articleid-1555
  • What is renewable energy? (n.d.). Retrieved from United Nations: https://www.un.org/en/climatechange/what-is-renewable-energy


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"Difference Between Renewable and Non-renewable Energy." Diffzy.com, 2022. Sun. 27 Nov. 2022. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-renewable-and-non-renewable-energy-462>.

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