- The Douglas County Public Utility District operates Wells Dam on the Columbia River north of Wenatchee, Washington. The dam generates a lot of surplus electricity, especially during spring runoff. Quite a few years ago, utility managers hit on the idea of using surplus electricity to split water molecules to make hydrogen. Douglas PUD general manager Gary Ivory said the needed equipment, called an electrolyzer, has dramatically fallen in price lately.
- “For around $3 million, we think we can purchase a two to three megawatt electrolyzer as kind of a test project so we can determine if this is economically feasible,” Ivory told a state Senate committee.
- A Douglas PUD spokeswoman said the utility staff still needs to do some more analysis on the plan before presenting the PUD Commission with a hydrogen production pilot project to green-light. That would be followed by seeking bids for the equipment.
- Douglas PUD just won unanimous support from the Washington Legislature to broaden the authority of public utility districts statewide to include hydrogen production and wholesaling. The legislation, to be signed by Gov. Jay Inslee next Wednesday, highlighted the renewable energy credentials of making non-polluting hydrogen fuel with hydropower. The renewable hydrogen could be distributed by pipeline or pressurized containers.