The Douglas County PUD is moving forward to build a hydrogen fuel operation. 

PUD Commissioners approved a plan this week to take bids for a construction firm and manager to build the plant and fueling station.  

Douglas PUD spokesperson Meaghan Vibbert says it's the next step in the process now that groundwork for the operation is complete and some parts and pieces are in place. 

"This call for bids is to construct the building, the pump house, all the electrical components, put everything together, and then provided all the safety audits and commissioning and fencing and paving and such," said Vibbert. 

The winning firm will build the Hydrogen Production and Fueling Facility on PUD property near the Shell station on Highway 2/97 in Baker Flats. 

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.  

Bids from firms wanting to build the Baker Flats hydrogen plant are due by November 21 

Bids are also being taken for someone with a background in the hydrogen industry to manage the project. Those bids are also due by November 21. 

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. Hydrogen production is expected by July 2023. 

In the end, Vibbert says the PUD has the unique ability to offer a fuel that begins and ends with a 0 emissions footprint. 

"Our electricity to produce that hydrogen is going to come from our Wells Project, our other renewable resource," Vibbert. "And then the burning of the hydrogen, all you're going to have is water vapor as your emissions. So, the whole cycle is green." 

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