Non Renewable Energy Resources: Lists, Examples, Advantages and Disadvantages

Photo of Non Renewable Energy Resources: Lists, Examples, Advantages and Disadvantages

Non Renewable Energy resources are energy sources that can be depleted with use and which cannot be replenished. Non Renewable Energy resources and Renewable energy resources are both Natural resources and are used for generating energy (hence they are also called Non Renewable Fuels) in various forms such as electrical energy or heat energy.

Lists of Different Types of Non Renewable Energy Resources

  1. Coal
  2. Oil
  3. Natural Gas
  4. Nuclear energy
  5. Fuel wood

Examples of Non-renewable Energy Resources and their Advantages and Disadvantages


Coal is a major form of Non Renewable Energy that was used commonly during the industrial revolution in USA and United Kingdom. Coal has been used for almost two centuries. Before advancement in technology, coal was used for powering trains and generating electricity. The use of coal contributes to global warming as burning of coal produces sulphur dioxide and carbon dioxide which are greenhouse gases and can cause acid rain.


Oil is also known as Black gold because it is black in color and has made many countries of the world rich because it has been a major source of revenue the countries having large reserves of it. Oil is currently the worlds largest business as several multinational companies are oil enterprise. Oil is abundant in some countries of the Middle East, Nigeria, Alaska, Indonesia and Algeria. Oil exploration and exploitation is very expensive as well as its transportation to world markets.

Oil production and distribution on a global scale are affected by political decision as Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is responsible in fixing oil prices globally and determining the production.

Oil is used for powering vehicles as petrol, for generating electricity and many other industrial uses. The exploration of oil causes environmental pollution as it spills into water bodies and kills the fishes and makes it impossible to use the water for drinking or washing and use of oil as petrol releases gases that contribute to global warming.

Natural Gas

Natural gas is the fastest growing energy resource that is an alternative energy resource to oil and coal. Natural gas is found in close proximity to oil and often experience the same problems or challenges in its mining, distribution and use as oil. It is currently the cheapest and cleanest energy source of fossil fuels, hence some governments such as the British government has favored new power stations to be gas-fired and older power stations to be converted to gas because gas causes less atmospheric pollution.

Nuclear energy

The use of this form of energy is controversial and is highly controlled globally because of the fact that it can be used as weapon for mass destruction. In the early 1950s, nuclear energy had a slogan Atoms for Peace and is said to be a clean, inexpensive and sustainable energy resource by many; but other people see it as a threat to the peaceful existence of nations that could be used by the military. When used for power generation, a small amount is needed in a year to generate 10 times the energy that would have been generated by coal in an hour, that is, only 50 tonnes of uranium (the raw material of nuclear energy) is need in a year as compared to 500 tonnes of coal needed to generate power that could only be used for just an hour.

Even though nuclear energy stations emit less greenhouse gases than coal or gas powered stations, nuclear power stations pose potential risks in 3 key areas: through routine emissions of radioactive substances, waste disposal and radioactive contamination accidents. Routine emissions have been known to cause Leukaemia in children living near nuclear power plants such as in Sellafield and Dounreay. Radioactive accidents have occurred and the worst being the Chernobyl accident in Ukraine in 1986 and Three Mile Island in the United States of America in 1979.

Fuel wood

Trees are sustainable energy resources provided they are replaced and allowed to grow and regenerate. The use of wood for cooking and heating is common in developing countries and with the increasing population and increase in demand; there is risk of desertification and irreversible damage. The carbon dioxide emitted from burning of firewood has greenhouse effect.

Non Renewable Energy Resources are useful in generating power, however, the exploration and transportation to markets across the world is costly. These energy sources also cause environmental pollution as well as contribute to global warming.

Leave a Comment