At the Audet family's Blue Spruce Farm in Vermont, 1,500 head of cattle drop thousands of cow pies a day-enough, it turns out, to produce 1.8 million kilowatt-hours of electricity a year. The nation's first direct farm-to-consumer renewable-energy program is supplying thousands of Vermonters with cow power, generated through a process called anaerobic digestion. The Audets feed their cow manure into an on-site oxygen-free closed-reaction tank, which uses bacteria to decompose waste into gas suitable for burning in electricity-producing turbines (manure naturally produces methane, a greenhouse gas 20 times as destructive as CO2). They use the excess generator heat to warm their water, and after the bacteria work their magic and destroy pathogens like E. coli, they get a rich compost that's safe to handle. Best of all, Marie Audet says, "it's less stinky. Our neighbors are happy about that."