Boise State University was recently named one of six Wind Application Centers in the nation through the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Wind for Schools program. During the three-year program, Boise State undergraduates in engineering will manage the siting and construction of small, 1.9-kilowatt wind turbines at up to 12 rural Idaho schools.

The purpose of the $41,000-a-year program is to educate rural K–12 students about wind energy and engage rural communities in a discussion regarding the applications and benefits of a robust wind energy future for rural America. Meanwhile, Boise State’s engineering students will develop real-world experience in wind energy project development.

The program, which makes Boise State the only DOE Wind Application Center in Idaho, will build on the university’s ongoing wind power research and the installation of a similar wind turbine at Idaho Falls’ Skyline High School last year.

In addition to the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Lab and Idaho National Lab, other partners in the initiative include the Idaho State Department of Education, which is helping identify rural schools that would benefit from having the small wind turbines on their campuses, the Tidwell Idaho Foundation and local electric utilities in the communities ultimately selected.

Most of the $41,000 annual grant from DOE will be used to pay the Boise State undergraduates who will work with the schools and local land use officials to site and install the turbines.