Renewable and Nonrenewable Energy Definition, Resources, Types, 10 Differences [PDF]

In this article, we shall be addressing the definition, resources, types, and differences between renewable and nonrenewable energy. We have also provided a PDF for the same.

Introduction to Renewable and nonrenewable energy

Renewable energy comes from natural resources that can be replenished, while nonrenewable energy comes from sources that can’t be replenished. Renewable energy sources like wind, solar, and hydro power are important for reducing our reliance on nonrenewable sources and combating climate change. Fossil fuels, a nonrenewable source, have negative environmental and health impacts. Developing renewable energy technologies can help shift us towards a cleaner, more sustainable energy future.

Renewable Energy Definition

This is defined as the sources of energy which are produced continuously in nature and are essentially inexhaustible at least in the time frame of human societies. These energy sources replenished themselves naturally in a relatively short time and therefore will always be available.

Example of Renewable sources of energy

The example of Renewable sources of energy are as follows

Renewable sources of energy
  • Direct Solar Energy
  • Wind Energy
  • Tidal Energy
  • Hydel Energy
  • Ocean Thermal Energy
  • Bioenergy
  • Geothermal Energy
  • Peat
  • Fuelwood
  • Fuel cells
  • Solid waste
  • Hydrogen

Renewable Sources of Energy Advantages

  • This energy source is stable.
  • Multiple forms of energy sources exist in nature.
  • These are safe, abundant, and clean to use when compared to fossil fuels which are non-renewable energy.
  • There are low maintenance energy sources.
  • This does not harm the planet.
Renewable sources of energy

Renewable Sources of Energy Disadvantages

  • Some energy sources require a huge place to construct the dam like a hydel power plant.
  • These are not completely pollution-free sources of energy. Pollution is still generated(Very less amount).  A resource like biomass still burns waste products and puts pollution into the atmosphere. This includes carbon and methane, which are classified as greenhouse gases.
  • Requires storage capabilities.
  • Location-specific sources type of energy.
  • Not every type of renewable source of energy is commercially viable.
  • Unreliable weather can affect the energy supply.

Non-renewable Energy Definition

Nonrenewable Energy resources are defined as energy resources which have been accumulated over the ages and are not quickly replenish able when they are exhausted.

Example of Non-renewable sources of energy

The example of Non-renewable sources of energy are as follows

  • Fossil fuels
  • Nuclear fuels
  • Heat Traps
Non-renewable sources of energy

Non-Renewable Sources of energy Advantages

  • This Source of energy is affordable. For instance diesel and oil.
  • It is easily accessible and more compatible.
  • This source of energy is easy to store.
  • Energy is cost-effective and easier to produce and use.

Non-Renewable Sources of Energy Disadvantages

  • It cannot be replaced once its energy source is used.
  • The by-products of non-renewable energy cause environmental damages.
  • Also increases greenhouse gases which affect the planet.
Non-renewable sources of energy

Differences between Renewable and Nonrenewable energy

Renewable Energy SourcesNon-renewable Energy sources
These energy sources can be replenished within a short period.These energy sources cannot be replenished within a short period.
Sources like solar energy through different types of solar panels, Wind energy is continuously available and does not deteriorate environmental health and also human health.This sources type contributes to generating greenhouse gases that cause Global warming, a negative effect on the environment.
Renewable sources involve high investment though it is available cheaply.It is quite cheap compared to renewable.
Due to the intermittent nature of the availability of energy sources like solar, wind, and Tidal continuous supply of energy is not possibleHere a continuous supply of energy is possible.
Few renewable energy conversion systems can be often built close to the site where energy is required. This minimizes transmission costs.Transmission costs are generally high.
Energy sources such as wind energy, Tidal energy are available in the only selected geographical region in the world.This energy source is less dependent on the geographical regions and is normally available everywhere.
Not dependent on foreign suppliers.But this one is may depend on foreign suppliers like coal, petroleum, and more.
These sources can be used again and again.Non-renewable cannot be used again and again. One day it will be exhausted.
These are pollution-free sources of energy.These are not pollution-free sources of energy.
Example: Solar, Wind, Tidal energy.Example: Fossil fuel, coal.


In conclusion, renewable and nonrenewable energy sources differ significantly in definitions, resources, types, and key characteristics. Renewable energy, derived from naturally replenishing sources with lower environmental impacts, utilizes abundant resources like sunlight, wind, and water.

Nonrenewable energy relies on finite resources, contributing to pollution and climate change, predominantly through fossil fuels and uranium. Distinctions in availability, cost, longevity, and energy storage needs further set them apart. The global shift towards renewable energy signifies a collective drive to reduce reliance on nonrenewable sources, combat climate change, and promote sustainability through technological advancements and supportive policies.


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