What are the advantages and disadvantages of non-renewable and renewable energy?

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Most renewable forms of energy can be traced to the sun. An advantage of solar energy is  its a clean form of energy, however, it is not equally distributed all over Earth and some areas receive less insolation than others. Solar panels are still costly to install. At night or during bad weather, back up systems are required. Wind is a clean form of energy and the only environmental impact of windmills is the killing of bats and birds that fly into them. However, not all places are windy--mostly coastal areas and plains areas are. Running water is an excellent way to get energy by building dams or harnassing the power of waves. Dams however, lead to disruption of the migration of certain fish and can lead to the spread of disease--example snails' territory is expanded and they can harbor parasitic worms. Geothermal is excellent, but, not all places are located where there is a great deal of crustal activity. If you live near a hot spring, it is a wonderful way to heat your home, but, it depends where you are located on Earth if you will be able to harnass this form of energy. Non-renewable fossils fuels--coal, oil and gas are still the cheapest energy source available, however, coal supplies may only last 200 more years and oil is believed to be depleted by the end of this century. Also, these hydrocarbon fuels are very polluting adding carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides and particulates to the environment and these can lead to the formation of secondary pollutants namely ground level ozone and acid deposition.

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The key advantage of non renewable energy sources is that to access them, you must pay a supplier.  Most non renewables, by their very nature, are not corporately controlled in a a "top down" hierarchy.  You could put up your own wind / solar system, but then nobody collects a monthly fee. If you read carefully the objections by current energy suppliers regarding renewables, their main complaint is that "there's no distribution system in place."  Precisely.  There doesn't need to be one. If we go to renewables, they're out of business. They could make the philisophical change. Nothing's preventing them from changing their business model, but their own corporate inertia.

Once energy is used, you can never get it back, no matter what the energy source was.  This is a law of Thermodynamics.

Currently, Tesla and Fetish are new electric car companies that make fast, sexy long-range vehicles.  These have arrived!  You can buy one! There's a waiting list! Still very expensive, but so was the Model T when it debuted.  How about a little bailout money for them instead of GM? (For a sad, but informative documentary, watch "Who killed the electric car?")




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The advantages of non-renewable energy are found in two areas:  cost and availability.  Most of the energy-consuming products that run off of non-renewable energy sources have very little real competition from similar or comparable products that utilize renewable sources.  For example, it is difficult to find a car or truck that runs off of rechargeable battery power, solar power, or electricity.  If you did find one, it would be less efficient (wouldn't go as fast, be as practical, etc.) and cost a LOT more.  The disadvantages, of course, are that they are non-renewable, meaning that when they're gone, they're gone.  You can't replace natural gas, oil, or coal.  Also, mining for these sources at such an intense rate can have devastating environmental effects.

Renewable energy, on the other hand, provides for cleaner, environmentally friendlier power sources.  Once fully developed, they have the potential to be much more cost efficient (consider solar power; it's not like the sun is a market-based commodity that can be over or under produced to obtain a better selling price).  However, until this type of power source is fully integrated into the market, products utilizing it will remain more expensive, less readily available, and more of a unique alternative rather than viable competitor.

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