Environment Scie/Tech news Technology

Renewable vs. Sustainable energy: What is the difference?

Renewable and sustainable energy are terms often thrown around by environmentalists, seemingly interchangeably, but what do these words actually mean?

Renewable vs. Sustainable energy: What is the difference?
Renewable vs. Sustainable energy: What is the difference?

Where we source our energy has become a large talking point in the overall conversation of environmental preservation and mitigating climate change. While these aren’t necessarily new talking points and ideas, some of the details, terms, and definitions remain unclear to the general public.

For the everyday person to make more informed decisions—from anything as big as whom they vote for to as small as how diligently they recycle—knowledge is a must. Let’s look at two terms we see in conversations about energy and the environment: renewable and sustainable energy. Although many may use these terms interchangeably, they’re not exactly the same. The question is, what is the difference between renewable and sustainable energy?

How Do We Define Renewable Energy?

Before defining renewable energy, we must look at the word renewable itself. Renewable means anything not depleted after use, meaning it is in endless supply or can replenish itself. Similarly, renewable energy is any kind of energy we derive from a renewable source. Examples are energy sources such as solar energy, biomass energy, nuclear energy, and wind power.

If renewable energy continually replenishes itself, could we consider coal a form of renewable energy? For an energy source to be truly renewable, it must renew itself faster than we consume it. Coal, in particular, takes millions of years to form, and at the rate we consume it to create energy, we’ll run out before it has a chance to renew.

How Do We Define Sustainable Energy?

If we look at the definition of the word sustainable, it means something that can continue at a certain level. Sustainable energy is relative to the amount of energy that we consume—it is a type of energy that meets our current demands without jeopardizing the needs of the future. These are energy sources such as wind power, solar power, and hydroelectric energy.

Ultimately, for an energy source to truly be sustainable, it must be a form of energy that won’t harm the environment. If it harms the environment, it harms the future in turn. In this way, energy sources such as biomass are not sustainable, as consuming it emits greenhouse gases that damage the ozone.

What Is the Difference Between the Two?

We now know what renewable and sustainable energy are, but what is the difference between them? All forms of sustainable energy are also renewable, but not all forms of renewable energy are sustainable. A renewable energy source can be sustainable if it doesn’t harm the environment and the replenishment rate is greater than the utilization rate.

A great example of a renewable and sustainable energy source would be offshore wind development. This energy source uses the strong, natural winds of the ocean to produce electricity. Wind is a renewable resource in unlimited supply, and it can meet our energy demands without impacting the environment or future harvesting. However, we should keep in mind that when we say an energy source “meets our current demands,” it is a projected statistic. If we do not prioritize investing in these forms of energy and erecting the necessary facilities, none of these clean forms of energy will be able to meet our demands. We have to make renewable and sustainable energy sources a priority today to protect our environment and future generations.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

We Recommend

The yoopya.com portal presents worldwide news, covering a large spectrum of content categories including Entertainment, Politics, Sports, Health, Education, Science and Technology and more. Top local and global news in the best possible journalistic quality. We connect users via a free webmail service and innovative.

Renewable vs. Sustainable energy: What is the difference?

Discover more from Top Local & Global trusted News | Secure Email Account

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading