AP®︎/College Environmental science
Review your understanding of renewable and nonrenewable energy sources in this free article aligned to AP standards.
- Every day, people use energy to power businesses, make homes more comfortable, and fuel vehicles. To do this, people convert energy sources, such as coal, into other useful forms of energy, such as electricity. Energy sources can be categorized as either nonrenewable or renewable.
- Nonrenewable energy sources are those that are consumed faster than they can be replaced. Nonrenewable energy sources include nuclear energy as well as fossil fuels such as coal, crude oil, and natural gas. These energy sources have a finite supply, and often emit harmful pollutants into the environment.
- Renewable energy sources are those that are naturally replenished on a relatively short timescale. Renewable energy sources include solar, wind, hydroelectric, and geothermal energy. They also include biomass and hydrogen fuels. These energy sources are sustainable and generate fewer greenhouse gas emissions than fossil fuels.
Want to join the conversation?
- If renewable energy resources are more sustainable and replenishable, why don't we just use them instead? Is it because of the expenses?(5 votes)
- There is one more thing you need to know, people should use large amount of nonrenewable resource to construct the enough equipments to help us gain the renewable resource. What's more, the transportations of some kinds of renewable resource is not easy and need nonrenewable resource. Totally, nonrenewable and renewable resource can be using together instead of justing using one of them.(1 vote)
- is there a way we can replace all non-renewable energy sources with renewable energy sources?(3 votes)
- Yes, but it is not a simple transition: most homes in the USA (where I am currently living) are many years old, made before renewable energy sources were made purchasable by the public. You would have to practically uproot the building itself to plug in a new power source. A project of that magnitude would take decades and ironically, even more use of nonrenewable resources. It takes nonrenewable resources to build the devices that harness renewable resources.
Of course, the biggest factor is money. The supply-and-demand process makes renewable energy generators very expensive, so unless somebody stumbles upon a mountain of nonrenewable resources, the transition from nonrenewable to renewable energy will take decades if not centuries to complete...(1 vote)
- how much would it cost be have solar power at a house?(2 votes)
- Solar panels cost, on average, about $16,000, or between $3,500 to $35,000 depending on the type and model. While solar panels can help save you money on energy costs, it's important to know the overall startup solar panel costs so you can plan a budget.(1 vote)
- which is better?(1 vote)
- renewables are always going to be the better option. the sun will shine for at least another couple billion years, and the wind will continue to blow. as compared to non-renewables which are currently destroying our lives with "natural" disasters directly caused by the use of fossil fuels.(2 votes)
- Is every natural resource all renewable resources.(1 vote)
- Natural resources are usually either renewable or non-renewable. The former refer to those resources that can renew themselves in time. These include living resources like forests or non-living ones like wind, water, solar energy.(2 votes)
- Can we replace non renewable resources with renewable ones?(1 vote)
- Possible, but there are multiple reasons of why this isn't the case yet, such as
- infrastructure built already for non renewable resources. For example factories, or buses. It would take a lot of investment to replace those.
- the place to store the energy. Batteries that can store massive energy to replace non renewable energy are costly.(1 vote)
- If renewable energy resources are more sustainable and replenishable, why don't we just use them instead? Is it because of the expenses?(1 vote)
- why or how do non-renewable sources take a long time to replenish?(1 vote)