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Senator Risch Cheers CSI Grant Award

Notes Effort to Add Programs Important to Idaho

January 19, 2011

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Jim Risch hailed the news that the College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls is receiving a $4.4 million grant to build the Applied Technology and Innovation Center. The center will provide education and training for students looking to work in the alternative energy fields.

“I am pleased that CSI has received funding that will enable Idahoans to work in the renewable energy sectors. It is critical that we have trained technicians in areas like geothermal, solar, wind, hydro and biofuels,” said Risch. “I am particularly pleased that I was successful in getting geothermal and biomass added to the bill that created this community college training and education program. We have great potential for geothermal and biomass energy in Idaho and now individuals can develop their skills to work in these industries at CSI.”

During an Energy Committee markup in March 2009, Risch proposed adding language to include geothermal and biomass to the list of alternative energy workforce training programs to be provided by community colleges. This language was endorsed by the Chairman and Ranking Member of the committee.

Idaho ranks third in the western United States for new geothermal power capacity. Estimates of known geothermal areas could result in 860 megawatts of power when developed, according to a Western Governors Task Force study.

The potential for biomass as a renewable energy resource is also large for Idaho. With crops in the southern part of the state and forests in the north, biomass and biofuels development in the state will likely grow.

“I look forward to the completion of this building and the full development of training programs for alternative energy. It is great that students will be able to study where job opportunities are growing and these industries will find a well-trained source of employees,” said Risch.