Coal has been used to generate electricity from the beginning of the electric grid. But generating electricity from coal, at least in the West, may become a thing of the past. And utilities' plans indicate the decline of coal generation in the West will be rapid over the next decade.
Plant matter turned into a charcoal-like material can be pulverized and burned in a power plant like coal, increasing the use of renewable fuels to generate electricity. Meeting air quality standards, however, may be a challenge without additional pollution controls.