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Nonrenewable vs Renewable Energy Sources

The terms renewable energy, alternative energy, clean energy, green energy, and sustainable energy are increasingly becoming household phrases. You may have even noted a sense of urgency surrounding them, particularly with the various protests that were heavily publicised over the last number of years. But do you know why renewable energy is so “in”? 

Renewable vs Non-Renewable Energy

So why has renewable energy become increasingly relevant? 

Read on further to get the answer to that question and more. We’ll cover what renewable sources of energy are available today, the various pros and cons of renewable power generation, and how practicing sustainability with regards to energy affects you financially.

What Makes Energy Renewable?

Renewable energy is the energy we derive from Earth’s naturally occurring processes, including wind, water, and sun. We call these resources renewable or sustainable, as they are not finite like fossil fuels. This is one of the key differences between renewable energy and nonrenewable energy. 

What Is the Difference Between Nonrenewable and Renewable Energy Resources?

Currently, the primary sources of energy in Ireland are fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas. Unfortunately, as everyone knows, fossil fuels are nonrenewable resources created over the course of millions of years, far beneath the Earth’s surface. When these finite resources are gone, they’re gone. Fossil fuels are becoming increasingly difficult to find and are becoming more and more expensive to extract.  

The rate by which we are burning fossil fuels is too fast. If we don’t make a drastic and immediate change in how we’re using them, they could be potentially depleted within our children’s lifetime. That’s why at  EcoPlex we encourage people to adopt renewable energy sources now, as a way to not only future proof their homes, but to also make strides towards a more sustainable Ireland. 

Renewable power comes from virtually inexhaustible sources. Using these natural resources allows us to conserve and extend the lifespan of our nonrenewables as we begin to implement more sustainable habits.   

Potentially worse than depletion, fossil fuels have an extremely negative impact on the environment. 59% of greenhouse gas emissions in Ireland are caused by electricity generation produced by burning fossil fuels in nonrenewable power plants. That in combination to our large livestock industry has lead to us having 20% higher emissions per capita that the EU average   

Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions lead to climate change, which can cause:  

  1. Acid rain
  2. Smog
  3. Soot 
  4. Toxic air emissions 
  5. Congenital disabilities 
  6. Cancer 
  7. Other severe health-related conditions 
  8. Changes in sea level 
  9. Cold snaps 
  10. Droughts 
  11. Hurricanes 
  12. Melting glaciers 
  13. Wildfires 

Renewable energy has a much lower carbon footprint than fossil fuels. Switching to renewable power sources can positively impact the environment by slowing the rate of climate change. This positive environmental impact is where the terms green energy and clean energy come from. 

Renewable Power Sources

In its early stages, the costs and limitations of renewable energy didn’t make it as practical for widespread commercial adoption like it is now. On the bright side, renewable power source options are steadily growing and improving. Additionally, as the demand for improved energy efficiency and clean sources of energy grows, it’s becoming easier and more beneficial for consumers to move towards renewables. 

Here are the main examples of renewable energy sources being used today:

  1. Solar energy 
  2. Hydroelectric energy 
  3. Geothermal energy 
  4. Wind energy 
  5. Bioenergy 
  6. Nuclear power 
  7. Hydrogen energy 
  8. Tidal energy 
  9. Wave energy 

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