Renewable Resources

Resources are said to be the whole of the capacities and elements (both natural and man-made) that can be utilized to produce goods or services or that have an intrinsic value without the need to be modified and are scarce in relation to the current or potential demand.

Renewable resources are those resources that are not exhausted by their utilization because they return to their original state or are regenerated quicker than they are decreased by use. This indicates that certain renewable resources may, in fact, cease to be renewable if the rate of use is so elevated that renewal becomes impossible. Within the renewable resources category are water and biomass. Some renewable resources are classified as perpetual resources because regardless of their high rate of use, they cannot be exhausted. Within this category of renewable resources are hydroelectric and solar energy as well as wind power and waves.

List of important renewable resources:

  • Biomass: Forests and wood, agricultural products
  • Water
  • Hydraulic Energy (may be hydroelectric)
  • Solar radiation
  • Wind
  • Waves
  • Geothermal energy
  • Fish

Water as a Renewable Resource

Clean water is a renewable resource due to the water cycle, but this does not mean that it is an unlimited resource. The increase in population as well as contamination and the destruction of clean water natural resources can put at risk the availability of this resource.

For example, if water is extracted from an aquifer at a rate of use that surpasses the rate of renewal, the water from the aquifer can cease to be renewable. The same would occur if the agricultural activities of a particular elevated area do not allow water to seep into the ground.

Agricultural Products as Renewable Resources

Vegetables have the capacity to grow without exhausting the soil, therefore, they are considered to be a renewable resource as long as this requirement is met. That is to say, if the rate of consumption does not prevent future renewal. A narrower concept takes into consideration the entire production process. Therefore, the agricultural products (food, bio-fuel, raw materials, chemicals, etc.) are considered to be renewable only if in addition to its production, the collection, logistics, processing and distribution of the product are also considered as “sustainable”.

Products from forests such as wood, chemicals and paper can also be renewable resources if they are produced with sustainable techniques.


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