Power plants use wood as new power source

Across the nation, power plants have returned to wood burning as an energy source in light of bills passed by Congress and state mandates for renewable power.

According to William Perritt, editor of Wood Biomass Market Report, one plant started in 2007, seven in 2008 and a dozen in 2009. He added that dozens more are in the works, including three 100-megawatt plants scheduled for 2012 that together could power 270,000 homes.

Plants currently burn bark, twigs and waste wood; Bob Cleaves of Biomass Power Association stated that current laws and policies are sufficient to protect the environment. Other environmentalists, such as Pete Stewart of Forest2Market, fears that whole trees will have to be cut down as wood power grows.