With expected onslaught of new plug-in vehicles over the next few years, there will surely be some increased demand for electrical generating capacity. However, with coal being the dominant source of energy for power plants in the United States, the total life cycle benefits are questionable. There is of course the possibility of controlling emissions from stationary sources like power plants, but frankly our recent governments have been reluctant to actually force power producers to make changes, especially to older existing plants. There are of course plenty of efforts to harness the power of the sun, wind and tides.
One of the latest attempts is a new power plant on Hawaii's Big Island that will consume biomass to produce electricity. The Hu Honua Bioenergy Facility will produce 24MW and supply about 7-10 percent of the island's power needs. The biomass will all be locally produced and used in the plant rather than put into landfills. While it's certainly better to use the materials for power generation than to put in a dump, the big question is why dump it in the first place? Even without the power plant, such materials should at least be composted rather than buried.
[Source: Renewable Energy World via EcoGeek]