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Difference Between Sustainable and Renewable

The terms sustainable and renewable are often thrown around in discussions among environmentalists and industry experts. They are often used in the context of some sort of primary energy, often interchangeably. Although there is some overlap between the two because we can argue that many sustainable energy sources are also renewable, both the terms have very different meanings. It’s often said that renewable energy can have a transformative impact on the world, but the question is how sustainable is it? Let’s take a close look at the key differences between the two.

Renewable

Renewable means anything that can be replaced or has an endless supply. Renewable energy is energy that is derived from sources that are able to replenish themselves over time whether it’s power derived from air, water, biomass, solar, nuclear reactions, etc. It is energy derived from natural sources that are naturally replenishing on a human timescale. There are various types of energy sources that are renewable such as wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass. The most popular renewable energy source is solar energy, which is derived from capturing radiant energy from sunlight and converting it into heat, electricity, or hot water. Hydropower is yet another widely used renewable power source which accounts for over 18 percent of the world’s total power generation.

Sustainable

Sustainable energy can be defined as a form of energy that meets our present demands of energy without jeopardizing the needs of future generations. But to meet the global energy demands in a sustainable way requires increased energy efficiency as well as new methods of using existing carbon-based fuels. Sustainable energy is energy that can be utilized again and again without putting in danger the sources of getting depleted with time. Due to climate change and rapid industrialization, many countries have faced serious environmental concerns, mainly caused by the inefficient use of resources. From this perspective, sustainable energy has been seen as a major driving force for environment sustainability. So, sustainable energy practices depend on resources that can continue to meet our energy needs. The most popular sources of sustainable energy are wind, power and hydropower, which are also renewable.

Difference between Sustainable and Renewable

Definition

– Renewable energy is energy that is derived from sources that are able to replenish themselves over time whether it is power derived from air, water, biomass, solar, nuclear reactions, etc. These sources are natural and self replenishing meaning they won’t run out, and usually have a zero carbon footprint. Sustainable energy is energy that can be utilized again and again without putting in danger the sources of getting depleted with time. Renewable energy is often called sustainable energy but not all renewable sources are necessarily sustainable.

Sources

– There are various types of energy sources that are renewable such as wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass. The most popular renewable energy source is solar energy. The most popular sources of sustainable energy are wind, power and hydropower, which are also renewable. Polymers are an integral part of all aspects of sustainable energy solutions. In fact, everything from wind turbine blades to biomass is made up of polymers.

Examples

– One of the best examples of renewable energy is photovoltaic solar energy, which means producing electricity from sunlight, which in turn in infinitely renewable. Other popular examples are geothermal, biomass, hydropower, wind energy, and so on. Biofuel is one of the unique forms of renewable energy that has the potential to generate a number of benefits, but it is also a sustainable energy source, the production and use of which can be sustained indefinitely. 

Sustainable vs. Renewable: Comparison Chart

Summary

In a nutshell, energy is considered renewable when it is derived from natural sources that are replenished naturally but flow-limited meaning the rate at which they are replenished is equal to or more than the rate which they are being consumed. Most common examples of renewable energy are solar energy, wind energy, bioenergy, and hydroelectric. Renewable energy is the present as well as the future of the world’s energy production. Sustainable energy comes from sources that can never be depleted, such as sunlight and wind energy. Well, some renewable energy sources can be sustainable but not all.

What is sustainable but not renewable?

Natural gas and coal can be great sustainable sources of energy, despite their environmental impact. However, they are not renewable energy sources. Non renewable resources that are used moderately can become sustainable.

Can a resource be renewable but not sustainable?

Not every renewable resource can be sustainable and conversely, a non-renewable resource cn also be sustainable if it is used in moderation.

What is the difference between sustainable and non sustainable resources?

Sustainable resources are the ones that come from natural sources and cannot be depleted whereas non-sustainable resources can be depleted and cannot be maintained indefinitely.

Are renewable resources more sustainable?

Renewable energy sources like wind, solar, and hydropower are all sustainable forms of energy because they can never be depleted and they are environmental friendly.

What are renewable resources and sustainable development?

Sustainable development means to make this world a better place for everyone by meeting the present needs of the society but making sure that the future generations are also able to meet their needs. Two examples of sustainable development are solar energy and crop rotation.

What does sustainable resource mean?

Sustainable resources are the resources which the future generations will have access to. But note that not all natural resources are necessarily sustainable.

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References :


[0]Omrane, Amina, et al. Sustainable Entrepreneurship, Renewable Energy-Based Projects, and Digitalization. Florida, United States: CRC Press, 2020. Print

[1]Assad, Mamdouh and Marc A. Rosen. Design and Performance Optimization of Renewable Energy Systems. Massachusetts, United States: Academic Press, 2021. Print

[2]Carpenter, Nancy E. Chemistry of Sustainable Energy. Florida, United States: CRC Press, 2014. Print

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