Difference Between Renewable and Non-Renewable Resources

Difference between renewable and non-renewable resources


Natural resources are those that are accessible without humanity’s intervention. There are two categories of natural resources: renewable resources and non-renewable resources. These two resources are essential to human existence.

Two examples of natural resources that have existed for millions of years are coal and petroleum. There were other resources, like sunlight, even before god created the world. Regardless, we are all dependent on these resources to some extent. These assets, often known as natural resources, are essential for maintaining life on earth. Read on to know the difference between the two categories of natural resources: renewable and non-renewable.


What are Renewable Resources?

As the name suggests, these are the natural resources that, although being continuously consumed, do not become exhausted or depleted. These renew over a limited period by biological processes. Wind and sunlight are two examples.

What are Non-Renewable Resources?

primary ddifference between renewable and nonrenewable resources
Nonrenewable energy resources include coal, natural gas, oil, and nuclear energy. Once these resources are used up, they cannot be replaced

Due to ongoing human usage, these natural resources become exhausted and are neither renewed nor replaced, for example, groundwater, fossil fuels, and mineral ores. 

Renewable and Non-Renewable: The Difference

A renewable energy source is one that humans may utilize indefinitely; it constantly replenishes itself without human intervention. Renewable energy sources derive from natural elements such as wind, water, sunlight, and plant materials. There will always be wind, sun, and water, regardless of how much of each resource we utilize to generate energy. 

Non-renewable energy sources, on the other hand, are limited in quantity. Most of the time, this refers to fossil fuels like natural gas, oil, and coal. While these resources indeed start from organic stuff, they take hundreds of thousands of years to form and require a high-pressure environment to produce the oil, coal, and gas we use for fuel.

The following are significant differences between renewable and non-renewable resources.

Comparison IndexRenewable EnergyNon-Renewable Energy 
DepletionRenewable resources can never be depleted.Nonrenewable resources run out over time.
SourcesSunlight, water, wind, and geothermal sources such as hot springs and fumaroles are examples of renewable resources.Petrified fuels such as coal and petroleum are examples of nonrenewable energy sources.
Environmental ImpactMost renewable resources emit little carbon and have a small carbon footprint.Nonrenewable energy has a significantly larger carbon footprint and emissions.
CostRenewable energy has a high initial cost. For example, creating power with renewable energy technologies is more expensive than generating them with fossil fuels.Non-renewable energy has a lower initial investment.
Infrastructure RequirementsInfrastructure for harvesting renewable energy is prohibitively expensive and not easily accessible in most countries.Cost-effective and accessible infrastructure is available for non-renewable energy across most countries
Area RequirementsA huge land/offshore area is required, particularly for wind farms and solar farms.Comparatively lower area requirements

Impact of human activities on the planet’s renewable and nonrenewable resources

Nonrenewable energy sources are decreasing due to human activity. Infrastructure in today’s global energy grid relies extensively on nonrenewables daily, and our reliance on these resources is one of the primary reasons they will run out. 

These factors motivate us to emphasize the development of renewable energy sources that can replace nonrenewables. As a result, the use of renewable energy sources has increased exponentially. Finally, human activity has significantly depleted nonrenewable resources, but it allows us to invest in more sustainable solutions for the future.

It’s vital to remember that you can choose the sort of energy resource you use. The more people choose renewable energy, the greater the need for them and the potential for long-term success. 

When clients choose Inspire as their energy provider, they make a strong statement. Not only are they dramatically lowering their carbon footprint, but they are also raising the demand for renewable energy, which aids in its production.

How Fast are Renewable Resources growing?

difference between renewable and nonrenewable resources
The amount of renewable capacity added over the period of 2021 to 2026 is expected to be 50% higher than from 2015 to 2020

Renewable energy is quickly expanding because of continuous technological improvement, a consistent decrease in overall costs connected with renewable energy projects, and more understanding of how burning fossil fuels directly contributes to climate change. As a result of these factors, the world’s renewable energy capacity expanded by 45% in 2020 alone, the most significant annual rise in renewable energy capacity since 1999. The global spread of solar and wind energy accounts for a large portion of this rise. In 2020 alone, global wind energy capacity expanded by 90%. That is a mind-boggling figure to comprehend. Solar power can see an increase of 23% in the coming years.

These two renewable energy sources accounted for the 45% growth in renewable energy capacity in the coming years. So, if renewable energy increased by 45% in 2020, owing primarily to historical growth in wind and solar, who were the significant contributors to the increase?


Key takeaways

  • While fossil fuels are reliable and easily stored, they are becoming scarce. They contaminate the air we breathe, contribute to climate change, are hazardous to create, and kill wildlife when things go wrong. 
  • While renewable energy is less consistent (for example, we can only utilize solar electricity when the sun shines), renewable energy is always available. 
  • Renewable energy does not require millions of years to form and develop, nor does it need to be transported over land and water to be accessible. 
  • Renewable energy sources are better for the environment, and growing reliance on wind and solar power will help improve global air quality.

We hope you find this blog post to be both motivating and instructive. If you have any questions, please contact us here

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Q1. What Are the Advantages of Renewable Energy for Small Businesses? 

Answer: Lowering energy bills is perhaps the most important motivation for your company to become green. If you move to a renewable energy source, you can save hundreds of dollars on your monthly electricity expenses. 

Tax Credits: As a reward for your green initiative, your company may be eligible for tax breaks from the local government. Furthermore, you may be able to cover at least 30% of the cost of installing a renewable energy system with the help of these incentives.

Q2. What exactly is zero- or low-carbon energy? 

Answer: Nuclear electricity is not renewable, but it is zero-carbon(1), which means it emits little or no CO2, just like renewable energy sources. Nuclear energy provides a stable basis, which means it is not weather dependent and will significantly bring Britain to net zero status.

Q3. What exactly is energy storage? 

Answer: Traditionally, energy distribution and consumption occur concurrently with its generation. However, sometimes the generated electricity is more than enough, and other times it is insufficient. The goal of energy storage is to balance the supply and demand for electricity. 

Renewable storage allows for the utilization of the energy generated during off-peak hours during peak hours. Consider solar panels on a house’s roof. Although the sun does not shine at night, the energy created between sunrise and sunset exceeds the amount required to power an ordinary household. Extra energy stored can be used to compensate for the absence of sunlight during those hours.