Renewable vs Clean Energy: The Difference

In recent years, the topic of sustainability and protecting the environment has risen substantially in popularity, and for good reason. One of the largest contributors to the declining health of our planet is the way we source energy. The importance of transitioning from our current energy generation practices to more sustainable methods is becoming clearer amongst our society. But which methods should we use? What is the difference between clean and renewable energy? Let’s take a deeper look. 

“Renewable” vs “Clean”

Although they are commonly used interchangeably, clean and renewable energy are two comparable, yet distinct definitions. Understanding the difference between these two terms, and what they are referring to is important.

Renewable energy is power generated from resources or processes that are replenished at a rate equal to or faster than the rate at which they are consumed. Unlike fossil fuels which are a finite resource and will eventually run out, renewables have the potential to satisfy the world’s future electricity needs. Some of the most common examples of renewable sources include solar energy, wind energy, geothermal power, hydropower, and biomass.

Clean energy encompasses any source that does not release pollutants into the air – they are zero-carbon and do not harm the environment. This means that even if a source isn’t renewable, it can still be clean. For example, nuclear energy and carbon neutralizing technologies such as carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) are both considered sources of clean energy even if they do not replenish after time.

Another term you may come across is “green energy”. This definition simply refers to any source of energy that does not produce pollution, and is generated using natural resources such as the sun, wind, water, etc.

Most renewable sources can be classified as clean, but not all clean sources can be classified as renewable. Just remember:

  • Clean energy – clean air
  • Renewable energy – replenishable resources

Why are these energy sources important?

The most important factor when considering these alternative energies are the environmental benefits associated with their production. Both “clean” and “renewable” have the ability to satisfy our energy needs without releasing harmful pollutants into the air. Electricity and heat production is the largest contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. Using cleaner methods of energy generation reduces pollutants in our air and water, harmful smog, and environmental damage from fossil fuel extraction. These sources also reduce the risk of future disasters such as oil spills, and natural gas leaks.

In addition to these advantages, there are economic benefits associated with renewable energy sources such as wind. To learn more on this topic check out this blog post!

While fossil fuels are still used to provide us with some of our power, they will not last forever. We are in need of energy solutions that will replenish over time, not disappear. The time has come to accelerate the transition to more sustainable methods of power generation. The best mix of both sources can be seen in solar and wind energy as they are both fully replenishable, zero-carbon, and have little to no negative impact on the environment.

The future of energy generation

As the world’s population continues to grow, the demand for energy constantly increases. The best way to satisfy this demand is to use reliable, sustainable power generation methods that will also provide aid in the fight against climate change.

In recent years, there has been more renewable energy capacity installed globally than both fossil fuel and nuclear capacity combined. We are on the right track. But the transition over to clean, renewable energy is not only up to countries on a national level. Everyone can make changes in order to reduce their carbon footprint. A great way to do this at home is to invest in microgeneration systems like solar panels and wind turbine systems such as our Anorra.


At the end of the day, the journey to a more sustainable future will be a challenging one with significant changes to be made. Nevertheless, providing reliable clean and renewable energy sources to meet our current needs, without sacrificing the needs of future generations must remain a top priority.

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