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Students and science collide

— GOLDENDALE — Science students in Klickitat County are set to get a charge out of lemons and potatoes. A small army of fourth, fifth and sixth graders will deploy to Puget Sound Energy’s Goldendale Generating Station on Nov. 1 for a round of eye-opening experiments that show how electricity can be conducted using common household produce.

The Goldendale Generating Station, built in 2004, is one of PSE’s newest power plants.

The facility, purchased by the utility in 2007, can produce up to 277 megawatts of power, enough power to meet the peak electricity needs of about 200,000 households. The facility employs modern, “combined-cycle combustion turbine” (CCCT) technology that allows it to generate electricity both from a generator connected to its single, natural gas-fired combustion turbine and from an additional generator powered from steam produced by the combustion turbine’s exhaust heat.

Nearly 100 grade school students from Goldendale Primary, Klickitat and Seventh Day Adventist School will make the trip. Each student will learn to make batteries using lemons and illuminate small light bulbs with potatoes.

Students will also tour the power plant to get a better idea of how a modern, natural gas-fired facility generates electricity that powers hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses.

In addition to learning about the powers of lemons and potatoes, students will also be involved in lots of other hands-on demonstration projects, including working with motors and generators, such as using a wind turbine or bicycle generator. There will also be a safety awareness presentation and an explanation on how electricity is made.

For more information on PSE or the school trip, contact Karen Doolittle at, or (509) 773-7909.


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