We all need energy.  This doesn’t just mean within our bodies (for which we need food, sleep and good health).  We need energy to heat ourselves, manufacture goods, travel, have fun, cook our food, help us see at night time and more.  Some forms of energy we use are renewable; others are non-renewable.

Non-renewable sources of energy include:

  • crude oil (petroleum)
  • coal
  • natural gas
  • batteries (unless they’re rechargeable batteries)

Renewable sources of energy include:

  • sunlight (we can’t use up the sun)
  • wind
  • water (as long as the dam sourcing a hydro lake has sufficient rainfall and snowmelt to keep the turbines going)
  • plants (this includes trees for wood and firewood
  • methane (produced from human and animal waste – and we all know that plenty of this is available!)

Many people are concerned that the non-renewable sources of energy are running out.  No new oil wells are being discovered (if some are still knocking around, they’re often in difficult areas to access or in places that drilling is prohibited e.g. Antarctica).  No new coal seams are coming to light – and even if they are, people are concerned about the carbon that is released to the atmosphere by burning coal (not to mention the horrible smoke that really ruins air quality).  What is more, non-renewable forms of energy also have a tendency to release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, with a possible effect on the world’s climate.

Renewable sources of energy are being looked at as a solution not only to the problem of ever-dwindling supplies of fossil fuels, etc. but also to reduce the amount of CO2 emissions released into the atmosphere.

Sunlight, wind and water are the most commonly used forms of renewable energy – usually to generate electricity – but other ways of generating electricity are being investigated, such as geothermal energy (using the heat from the earth’s interior when it comes near the surface in a volcanic area) and tidal energy.

Renewable energy can also be used for heating in a more direct way, rather than for generating electricity and then using that to heat homes and offices (and other buildings).  Solar energy is again widely used for heating, in the form of passive solar design, solar water heaters and even solar ovens and incinerators.  One form of renewable energy that this writer has seen used was landfill gas, which was burned (and it is clean-burning) to heat an indoor swimming pool/gymnasium complex – successful even when a bitter winter storm was raging outside.

Firewood is another form of renewable energy that is used for heating.  According to one old saying, firewood can heat you three times over: once when you stack it, once when you chop it then a third time when you burn it.

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11 Responses to “Types of Renewable & Non Renewable Energy”

  1. Todd Crook Says:

    Great article that brings attention to a serious issue in our country.

    Dow Chemical is also utilizing landfill gas as a renewable energy for our carpet backing products. Starting last week, the consumer will be able to get carpet from Mohawk Industries that has a backing material made from renewable energy! Just look and ask for Mohawk’s carpet using Dow’s LOMAX Technology. Every home installation will save 6-8 lbs of CO2 from entering the atmosphere.

    Here is a great release on this.


  2. Rob K Says:

    Thankyou, Todd for bringing this to my attention.

    I think using landfill as a source for renewable energy is a great way to solve two problems. Props to Dow’s LOMAX technology for utilizing this.

  3. Harriet Bryan Says:

    IMO, every landfill site should collect the gas that is created there. It beats having to mine for gas and it means that no more environmental areas are harmed.

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  6. Jason Says:

    I thought most landfill places in first world countries already collected methane gas?

    I do see your point though. If we’re throwing away as much rubbish as they say we are, then I bet we’ve got a lot of untapped energy if we’re not collecting the methane.

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  8. sadjsakdjik Says:

    How do renewable/non-renewable batterys produce energy

  9. Chloe Says:

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  10. Prachi Says:

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  11. cavoy Says:

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