Douglas County PUD is moving forward with construction of its new hydrogen production and fueling center. 

PUD commissioners selected a contractor to build the center Tuesday, with plans to start the project quickly. 

IMCO General Construction, Inc. from Ferndale, WA. was selected by commissioners.   

With a total for bid comparison of $18,225,500, IMCO was the lowest of the two bids received and met all the terms and conditions of the bid package. 

The PUD received one other bid for the project, from Bellingham construction company, Haskell Corporation, for $21 million. 

Spokesperson Meaghan Vibbert says the new hydrogen plant will give Douglas PUD the unique ability to offer a fuel that begins and ends with a zero emissions footprint.  

"There's other hydrogen producers here in the U.S., but with our Wells Dam and other renewable resources that we can purchase, the inputs and the outputs are all carbon free," said Vibbert. "So, whenever you burn our hydrogen, whenever it's used, the exhaust is just water vapor." 

The plant is scheduled to be up and running by the end of 2023. 

IMCO will build the facility on PUD property near the Shell station on Highway 2/97 in Baker Flats.  

The first step in forming the Baker Flats site took place in October 2019, when the PUD bought 109 acres from the Hamons farming family for about $2.1 million.  

Then early this year, the PUD purchased nearly 92 acres from C&O Nursery Company for $4.9 million. That parcel could also be used for hydrogen production  

The PUD purchased a 5-megawatt hydrogen machine from Hydrogenics Corp. for roughly $9.5 million in April 2020.  

The utility company broke ground on the Hydrogen project in March 2021.  

Once IMCO finishes the plant, it'll function as a hydrogen fueling center as well as hydrogen production hub.  

Hydrogen fuel will also be trucked from there to the PUD’s Valley Mall Parkway headquarters, where cars and truck will be able to fill up their tanks with hydrogen alongside a new Level 3 electric vehicle charging station that is in the works.  

Vibbert says hydrogen from the plant will also be sold on the open market for a number of different uses. 

"They use it in manufacturing, and also other processes that need hydrogen," Vibbert said. "Agriculture. They make fertilizer out of it. Computer chips." 

More From NewsRadio 560 KPQ