In the renewable energy vs fossil fuels debate, the primary difference between the two is the amount of available resources. Renewable energy, by definition, does not run out because it comes from resources that are always available or can be grown to be made available. Fossil fuels, on the other hand, may be in plentiful supply, but are considered a finite resource because eventually they would run out.
There are some other key differences between these two energy resources that also deserve a closer look.
1. Any biological item can be created into energy.
Many of the items we think of as trash can actually be turned into energy. This includes dead trees, lawn clippings, and even cow manure. These items are collectively referred to as “biomass” and can be converted into the energy resources we consume on a regular basis.
2. Burning fossil fuels could be damaging.
The emissions from vehicles and factories which burn oil, coal, and other fossil fuels contribute to 81% of the greenhouse gas emissions that are currently produced in the US. Natural resources also contribute to the emissions levels, but at a much lower rate.
3. Renewable energy is more of a technology than a resource.
When new technologies are first introduced to the market, they are usually quite expensive. This is due to the nature of supply and demand on a free market economy. As the technology is refined and becomes easier and cheaper to produce, then it becomes more available to everyone in the economy. This is the principle which applies to renewable energy.
4. Most of our energy infrastructure is based on fossil fuels.
We’ve had more than a century to build up a society and financial infrastructure that is based on fossil fuels. It has helped many countries become the developed powers they currently are. Transitioning to renewable energy as a primary resource would take time because of the sheer number of industries that are reliant on traditional fuel sources.
5. Renewable energy can be used in areas that are currently unused.
Although renewable energy production takes up more space compared to fossil fuel production, desert locations and other unused areas can be converted into power collection resources.
Renewable energy vs fossil fuels – the debate will continue on as we all work to minimize the impact we have on the only planet we can call home.
Crystal Lombardo is a contributing editor for Vision Launch. Crystal is a seasoned writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience. She has been an editor of three popular blogs that each have had over 500,000 monthly readers.