Feature Reports

What are the differences between fossil fuels and renewable energies?

Summary What are the differences between fossil fuels and renewable energies?

Différences entre énergies fossiles et renouvelables

Energy is essential for human activity. All types of energy, apart from nuclear energy, can be divided into two categories: those which, once used up, can only be replenished on a geological time scale (coal, oil, gas) and those produced from a source that is constantly replenished by nature (solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, etc.). The energies in the first category are known as fossil fuels, while those in the second are referred to as renewable energies. This feature report looks at how they rank in the global energy mix and gives an overview of their respective advantages, drawbacks and development prospects.

Les énergies fossiles


Fossil Fuels

Fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas) are still essential for transportation, electricity generation, heating, plant operations, and so much more. But they are also the main source of CO2 emissions and, unlike renewable energies, are produced from exhaustible – albeit still vast – reserves.

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Les énergies renouvelables

Renewable energies (hydro, solar, wind and geothermal power, as well as biomass) are undergoing intense development throughout the world, with advances driven by the need to fight climate change and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. 

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