Feds Step Up in Support of Renewable Energy 

How fitting--smack dab in the middle of Boise's Alternative Energy Week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded a pair of rural development grants to support two ambitious alterative energy projects, both within an hour's drive of the City of Trees. The larger grant, of $199,863 to Ketchum-based Synthetic Energy, Inc., will support a hydrogen fuel production facility to be built on Simco Road southeast of Boise. The electricity for proposed site will be produced by a cluster of wind turbines to be located just south of the Lewandowski wind farm, Idaho's first commercial wind farm--which was recently shut down due to the death of its founder and operator Bob Lewandowski (BW, News Shorts, "Groundbreaking Wind Farm Stops Turning," Aug. 31, 2005). The second grant went to aspiring Idaho breeze-reaper Larry Johnson, who plans to use his $17,776 to erect Owyhee County's first electricity-producing wind turbine. The proposed mill will sit just south of Melba, along the southern bank of the Snake River. The two grants were among 150 awarded nationwide, totaling nearly $21 million in alternative energy support across 32 states.

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