Renewable Vs Nonrenewable Energy: A Cost Comparison

There are all kinds of costs that come with owning your home. But one of the most significant costs comes from your energy use. While cutting down on your energy use can help you reduce your spending, changing the energy you use could not only save you money, but make a big difference to the environment too.

Learn more about the difference between renewable and nonrenewable energy costs and how this could change in the future.

What’s the difference between renewable and nonrenewable energy?

There are multiple differences between renewable and nonrenewable energy. While nonrenewable energy comes from fossil and nuclear fuels that must be burned to expel energy, renewable energy sources come from natural resources.

Nonrenewable energy

Nonrenewable energy is energy that is available in limited supply, taking a long time to replenish. Nonrenewable energy sources include:

  • Oil
  • Natural gas
  • Coal 
  • Nuclear energy

Renewable energy

Renewable energy takes a shorter time to replenish, with sources including:

  • Solar 
  • Hydro
  • Biomass 
  • Wind
  • Geothermal

While the majority of the world’s energy comes from nonrenewable sources, there is a lot of interest in renewable energy for both supply and environmental reasons. As technology improves and the industry expands, renewable energy is becoming more prevalent, with a high proportion of countries having renewable energy targets.

For example, solar energy is becoming more common and more affordable for the average homeowner to install. Finding a contractor that can provide a reliable solar panel installation service is much easier today than it was 20 years ago.

Is renewable energy cheaper?

It’s generally accepted that renewable energy is the preferred source of energy. The more it is used, the more cost-effective it becomes. But there are still barriers to renewable energy that hold up its production, with cost having a significant impact on the amount of renewable energy being produced. 

Currently, there are still significant differences in the cost of setting up a renewable energy plant compared to nonrenewable energy plants. But the difference is decreasing. A recent report by IRENA (the International Renewable Energy Agency), shows that the cost of installing and maintaining renewable energy sources is falling. Even on an unsubsidized basis, these energy sources are becoming more and more affordable.

The future of renewable energy costs

To enable renewable energy to become the world’s dominant source of fuel, the cost must continue to decrease. Progress has been quick over the last decade, with a clear learning curve for renewable energy meaning that scaling up the development and production of renewable sources leads to a decline in costs, something that can’t be said of fossil fuel production. Unlike many industries, the scaling up of renewable energy drives costs down, creates more jobs, but also benefits the environment. 

As the cost of producing renewable energy goes down, this cost will soon transfer to consumers. Energy companies will need to make less to break even, leading to lower prices for their customers. 

There’s no denying the benefits of renewable versus nonrenewable energy, and once cost becomes less of a barrier, we could see renewable energy being the predominant energy source in most countries. With further investment renewable energy can continue to grow, helping to create a greener planet, with lower energy costs for all. 

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