Ellensburg-Area Teachers Tour Renewable Energy Facilities - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Ellensburg-Area Teachers Tour Renewable Energy Facilities

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ELLENSBURG--Ellensburg-area teachers toured the different renewable energy sources available in Kittitas County on Saturday.

Educators want students to understand that renewable energy can power up more than just their homes.  They say it can also power up their minds.

Fortunately for kids in the county, sources of renewable energy are right in their back yard. 

"We try to focus them toward the array that they have in town as a tool they can bring in to the classroom," Bonneville Environmental Foundation Renewable Energy Education Manager Dave Lettero said.

Using renewable energy sources is more important than ever.  Ellensburg's community-owned solar array leads the way.

"The model they've developed here is being mimicked all over the country right now."

Local teachers want to make sure ellensburg's young minds are prepared to lead as well.

"Expose these guys that are 10 years old," Renee Cottrell, a fourth grade teacher at Mt. Steward Elementary.  "It's time for them to start learning about it because they're gonna grow up with these resources."

The Bonneville Environmental Foundation sponsored today's trips to the Ellensburg solar array and the Wild Horse wind farm.  The Foundation is not just showing teachers how to teach kids about solar or wind power, they are showing them how to make it fun.  One way is to hold races with small solar-powered race cars.

Educators say the more interest kids take in renewable energies, the more likely it is that we will see some bigger and better breakthroughs in the future.

"Our students will have a real advantage in knowing about the technology," Ellensburg Resource Manager Gary Nystedt said.

"The more they can learn about it now the better it'll be for all of us," Cottrell said.  "They'll  be the ones who'll be takin it to the next level."

Engineering students at Central Washington University help maintain Ellensburg's solar array. CWU is using a $120,000 grant to double the amount of solar panels the city has.