Pro's Con's of Renewable Energy Sources

Renewable energy means that there is a long term unlimited supply that is not decreased by our use of it for energy generation.

For example, sunlight is a renewable energy since the sun will (we hope) continue to shine on earth for billions of years, whether we use solar panels or not.

Wind and water power are also renewables since the wind doesn't stop blowing and the rivers dont stop flowing if we build windturbines and water mills to extract power.

In contrast, coal is not renewable. The coal that we use today is the remains of carboniferous forests from the time of the dinosaurs. Once the coal is used, up people will have to wait millions of years before the current amazon becomes useable coal.

The cons of renewable enrgy as opposed to non-renewable are based on price. We spent 200 years learning how to extract coal and oil cheaply, but the technology for extracting energy from sunlight is new and nowhere near as advanced. Therefore it currently costs a bit more to produce energy from renewables. However the coal and oil fields will run dry in the next 50 years so the balance of cost will swing the other way very soon.

The pros of using renewables are that the environment suffers when we burn coal, oil and gas. Greenhouse gasses and noxious poisons are released into the atmosphere whenever we drive a car or turn on a lightbulb. However if we use renewable energy, minimal damage is done to the planet.

Renewable energy sources:

Wind
Wave
Hydroelectric
Sunlight (Solar Panels)
Geothermal

(nuclear) - you do need to mine some elements for nuclear power, but they are plentiful so some people call nuclearpower a renewable resource but others disagree.

Non Renewable energy sources:

Gas
Coal
Oil