The Douglas County PUD will break ground on its renewable hydrogen production facility at Baker Flats Monday. Contractor KRCI was awarded the contract to start moving dirt out the facility's site, as well as the site of a future substation in the area.

PIO Meaghan Vibbert said the hydrogen electrolyzer is going to provide the Wells Dam project, the utility's main source of electricity, a lot of flexibility.

The facility will reduce some of the PUD's waste in the springtime by providing an alternative to spilling their spring runoff, which could harm fish, or selling their electricity at a loss because there is a glut of energy in the market that time of year.

"We could put that energy into the electrolyzer, have it produce a different form of energy, and use that either for transportation fuels, or add it to natural gas or agricultural products." explained Vibbert, "We're still looking at all the possibilities for that hydrogen product."

When the hydrogen is finally used it's byproduct is simply water vapor, making the option very environmentally appealing.

The groundbreaking ceremony will be all 11:00 am Monday. Douglas PUD is asking the public to refrain from attending to keep the ceremony socially distant. The event will be recorded and shared on the PUD's website and social media pages.

Douglas PUD hopes to have the facility up and running by the winter.

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