Renewable energy sources are naturally occurring sources of energy that can easily be generated or reproduced to match their demand.
Non-renewable energy sources on the other hand cannot be replaced as easily, because they take many millions of years to form.
Renewable energy sources make use of naturally occurring cycles and forces of the environment to produce and they can be harnessed from any amount of these cycles.
Among the most famous renewable energy sources are those based on the sun, like solar energy, wind energy, biomass, wave energy and geothermal energy.
The energy generated from the movement of water is hydro energy. Tidal power and wave power are also products of hydro energy. Radiant energy is the energy produced from geothermal power.
Wind energy harnesses the power of moving air, to power turbines and generators that produce electricity. It is one of the oldest forms of energy known to man.
Solar energy is the energy of the sun. Solar energy can be harnessed directly whey drying clothes or it can be harnessed through solar panels for heating water and generating electricity.
Hydro energy, energy from water, uses the moving power of water to generate power, much the same was as wind energy does.
Geothermal energy is the use of volcanoes, hot springs and geysers to produce heat, either for heating systems, or for producing electricity.
Biomass energy uses the remains of waste products, and other specially grown crops like switchgrass to generate energy through combustion.
There are many reasons why people favour the use of renewable energy sources. The most obvious is that it is abundantly available. The fact that it would never run out, (renewable) means there is plenty to go around.
Renewable energy sources are also easier on the environment. They produce little or no greenhouse gasses, compared to non-renewable sources of energy.
Renewable energy plants require comparatively less maintenance because the resources are natural.
Because of these reasons, there are many economic benefits of using renewable energies. Not only does it cut the cost of energy production, it generates many jobs and serves as an economic and tourist sources.
Despite its many attractive advantages, there are a few disadvantages as well. One of the prime disadvantages is its inability to generate a similar amount of electrical power compared to fossil fuels. Either the overall energy consumption must be reduced, or more plants must be built.
Despite their natural occurrence, they heavily depend on the weather and the climate. Therefore, during extreme weather conditions, solar energy, wind energy, and hydropower may be difficult to harness. There is an element of unpredictability.
Non-renewable energy sources seem to somewhat create a balance to this system. Non-renewable energies are those that take millions of years to form and therefore cannot naturally meet its demands.
Examples of non-renewable energy sources are coal, uranium (nuclear energy), natural gas, oil, and petroleum (gasoline, diesel, and propane).
These types of energy sources are derived from the core of the earth in various forms like gas, liquid and solids.
Petroleum or crude oil in its natural format is a liquid. Coal and uranium are solids, while natural gas and propane are gasses in the natural form.
Petroleum is most famously used in the transportation industry, which coal, natural gas and uranium are most often used for electricity and heating purposes.
One of the key advantages of non-renewable energy sources is that at the moment, they are widely available and generally affordable. They are cost effective, and easier to produce and use.
One of the main disadvantages of non-renewable energies is their availability. If they are not used carefully, and channelled without wastage, they will soon dry up, and since it takes many millions of years to form, the world will have a serious energy crisis on its hands.
Another important consideration is the level of environmental pollution as a result of all the toxic greenhouse gasses that are released during the combustion process.
The best way to ensure that neither renewable nor non-renewable energy sources get abused is to evaluate it according to its availability, environmental effect, energy yield, cost and renewability. This will help to strike the all important balance to ensure enough fuel for energy purposes for the entire world.