22 JUNE 2022

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The difference between clean and renewable energies

clean and renewable energies

Although the terms "clean energy" and "renewable energy" seem similar, they are different concepts and do not mean the same thing. In our new article we tell you the difference between the two terms.

Renewable energy is that which is obtained from a source that does not run out, while clean energy is that which during its production pollutes less compared to others.

The main difference between them is that renewable energy does not run out, but it may or may not be clean, and clean energy is energy that does not emit into the atmosphere or otherwise pollute.

Both terms can be used to define energy sources that are environmentally friendly, but do not have to comply with both aspects (renewable and clean). As an example of clean energy we can talk about natural gas.  Since its pollution is very low, it is considered a clean energy, but it does not meet the requirements to be a renewable energy. 

So… How are energy sources classified?

Several criteria can be used to classify energy sources:

  1. According to whether or not they are renewable.
  2. According to their degree of availability, i.e., conventional or under development.
  3. According to the way in which they are used, where we can distinguish between primary and secondary.


Renewable or non-renewable energy sources.

These are clean, inexhaustible and increasingly competitive energy sources. Renewable energy sources include solar, wind, hydro, tidal and biomass. Non-renewable energy sources are those that exist in limited quantities in nature, such as coal, oil, natural gas and uranium.


Conventional energy sources.

These are non-renewable resources that have traditionally been used to produce electricity. These sources are characterized by their limited geographic availability, their low generation rate in relation to their consumption rate, and the environmental pollution associated with their extraction and conversion into other types of energy.


Primary and secondary energy sources.

– Primary: They are obtained directly from natural sources such as coal, oil and natural gas.

– Secondary: They are obtained from primary sources through a transformation process by technical means.

Therefore, although they are all sustainable energies, the fact that an energy is renewable does not imply that it is clean, and the fact that an energy is clean does not imply that it is renewable. Therefore, when we want to refer to non-polluting and unlimited energies, it is best to speak of clean and renewable energies. 

Although there is still a long way to go, green hydrogen is growing and developing and is here to stay. Its use is vital to achieving the climate commitments of the Paris Agreement and zero emissions targets.

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