A Comparison of Renewable and Nonrenewable Energy Sources

The comparison of renewable and nonrenewable resources has been a source of conflict for scientists, businesses, and governments. Renewable energy replenishes itself, allowing the source to be used innumerous times. Nonrenewable energy sources can take thousands of years to be formed under the earth’s crust and are available in a limited supply. The article below will provide examples of both energy types and state their benefits and drawbacks.


Renewable Energy

In grade school, you learn that sources of renewable energy are all around us. In courses on renewable and nonrenewable energy sources for kids, you’ll find that the most popular sources of renewable energy are water, wind, and sun. Even natural garbage, such as manure, sawdust, and tree branches can be turned into fuels and electricity. These resources are known as biomass.


Benefits of Renewable Energy

The sun alone contains far more energy than the world could ever use. Clean and renewable sources like the sun can be used to process heat and produce electricity with a minimal impact on the environment. There is no need to worry about foul gases and greenhouse emissions from oil and gas and many renewable sources of energy are available to anyone virtually free of charge.


Nations spend billions of dollars buying oil and other fossil fuels to keep their country running. Investing in renewable energy can create larger jobs for people and reduce oil dependence around the world. Improved research will also make renewable energy much cheaper and easier to process, making devices like used wind turbines more affordable to the average homeowner.


Disadvantages of Renewable Energy

Solar energy, a major source of renewable power, requires large amounts of land to build solar dishes. In many cases, cities simply do not have the space to set aside several miles of land to provide power to a few square blocks. In addition, solar thermal generation uses very toxic chemicals and spills can seriously damage the environment.



Wind power also has plenty of downsides. An average of 17 acres is needed to produce 1 megawatt, which can power a maximum of 1000 homes. Unfortunately, most farmers require that area to raise cattle and livestock. In desert climates, wind farms can also lead to erosion. Learning how to make a wind generator is also complicated and wind farms require a large initial investment.


Nonrenewable Energy

Nonrenewable energy is still the most used type of energy around the world. Although it is often bad for the environment and limited supplies lead to increasing cost, it easier to utilize than renewable energy and is still more affordable.


Benefits of Nonrenewable Energy

Despite the scare that the world is running out of nonrenewable resources, there is actually still plenty available. Many countries around the world have vast reserves of oil, coal, and other combustible minerals that can be utilized for commercial and industrial use. Nuclear energy production is also increasing in popularity since it lasts much longer than coal or oil and can be used to power entire cities.


Disadvantages of Nonrenewable Energy

While the world still has plenty of oil, it is being used up at an alarming rate. As the reserves diminish, the price per oil gallon increases, so some countries may not be able to purchase enough fuel. Even oil companies are required to look in the Artic Sea and other hard-to-reach areas in order to find more oil.



Nonrenewable fuel is also very bad for the environment. Coal and oil are burnt, which pollutes the air and threatens animals and human alike. Even nuclear power, which is deemed a “clean energy source”, produces toxic waste that needs to be disposed of. Accidents in nuclear power plants can also have severe repercussions.


In Summary

Out of all the energy sources, solar and wind energy are still held as the most likely renewable energy sources to start replacing nonrenewable energy. However, more research is needed to make utilization of this energy cheaper and more convenient. Until then, nonrenewable energy will continue to be dominant.


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