Define nonrenewable energy resources, and contrast them with renewable sources.

Expert Answers
megamind-616 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A nonrenewable resource is one that is not easily replaced in comparison to its level of consumption. Examples of nonrenewable resources are most fossil fuels such as oil, petroleum, or natural gas. These fuels are called fossil fuels because they take millions of years to undergo the decomposition process required in order to be produced. 

In comparison, renewable resources take a shorter period of time to be produced with respect to their level of consumption. Examples of renewable resources are wind energy, solar energy, timber, and biomass. Renewable resources can also refer to commodities such as wood, leather or paper. Renewable resources have the extra benefit of being alternative fuels that emit less pollution. Thus, there is a push in our society to start using more of such resources for energy. 

shubhamanand | Student

1. Renewable Energy:

Renewable energy is energy which is generated from natural sources such as sun, wind, rain, tides and can be generated again and again as and when required.

They are available in plenty and by far most the cleanest sources of energy available on this planet. For e.g., Energy that we receive from the sun can be used to generate electricity. Similarly, energy from wind, geothermal, biomass from plants, tides can be used this form of energy to another form.

Advantages of Renewable Sources:

1. The sun, wind, geothermal, ocean energy are available in the abundant quantity and free to use.

2. The non-renewable sources of energy that we are using are limited and are bound to expire one day.

3. Renewable sources have low carbon emissions, therefore they are considered as green and environment friendly.

4. Renewable helps in stimulating the economy and creating job opportunities. The money that is used to build these plants can provide jobs to thousands to lakhs of people.

5. You don’t have to rely on any third country for the supply of renewable sources as in case of non-renewable sources.

6. Renewable sources can cost less than consuming the local electrical supply. In the long run, the prices of electricity are expected to soar since they are based on the prices of crude oil, so renewable sources can cut your electricity bills.

7. Various tax incentives in the form of tax waivers, credit deductions are available for individuals and businesses who want to go green.

Disadvantages of Renewable Sources:

1. It is not easy to set up a plant as the initial costs are quite steep.

2. Solar energy can be used during the day time and not during night or rainy season.

3. Geothermal energy which can be used to generate electricity has side effects too. It can bring toxic chemicals beneath the earth surface onto the top and can create environmental changes.

4. Hydroelectric provide pure form of energy but building dams across the river which is quite expensive can affect natural flow and affect wildlife.

5. To use wind energy, you have to rely on strong winds therefore you have to choose suitable site to operate them. Also, they can affect bird population as they are quite high.

2. Non-Renewable Energy:

Renewable energy is energy which is taken from the sources that are available on the earth in limited quantity and will vanish fifty-sixty years from now. Non-renewable sources are not environmental friendly and can have serious affect on our health.

They are called non-renewable because they can be re-generated within a short span of time Non-renewable sources exist in the form of fossil fuels, natural gas oil and coal.

Advantages of Non Renewable Sources:

1. Non-renewable sources are cheap and easy to use. You can easily fill up your car tank and power your motor vehicle.

2. You can use small amount of nuclear energy to produce large amount of power.

3. They are considered as cheap when converting from one type of energy to another.

Disadvantages of Non Renewable Sources:

1. Non-renewable sources will expire some day and we have to us our endangered resources to create more non-renewable sources of energy.

2. The speed at which such resources are being utilized can have serious environmental changes.

3. Non-renewable sources release toxic gases in the air when burnt which are the major cause for global warming.

4. Since these sources are going to expire soon, prices of these sources are soaring day by day.

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question