Douglas PUD requested Senator Hawkins sponsor legislation to authorize public utility districts to produce, distribute and sell renewable hydrogen. At times, there is an oversupply of electricity on the market. When the sun is shining, the wind is blowing and the mountain snowpack is melting, power prices are low or even negative. Hydroelectric operators are forced to generate electricity rather than spill water which adds total dissolved gas to the river which negatively impacts fish.
The ability to use that excess electricity to produce renewable hydrogen would be an efficient use of resources and an environmental benefit. Traditionally hydrogen is produced using natural gas and steam reforming. Douglas PUD would use the electrolysis method, separating the hydrogen from oxygen using an electric current. Renewable hydrogen is produced with a renewable resource with no carbon associated with the production or consumption of the fuel.
With this authority, Douglas PUD is researching a 2-3MW renewable hydrogen pilot project to determine if it would be beneficial for our operations and customer owners. Renewable hydrogen can be used to store energy, compressed for a transportation fuel or put in a pipeline for industrial purposes.
There were 33 senators who co-sponsored SB 5588. It passed the committees and floor debates with unanimous support at each vote. Governor Inslee signed the legislation April 17, 2019.
Below are links to press coverage about the legislation and renewable hydrogen.
Senate oks PUD hydrogen fuel production, sales – Wenatchee World 2/27/19 Sean Harding WNPA Olympia News Bureau
State Legislature Passes Sen Brad Hawkins Hydrogen Fuel Bill – KPQ April 9, 2019
Legislature Oks Hawkins' renewable hydrogen bill – Wenatchee World 4/10/19 Bridget Mire
Central Washington Utility Eager To Branch Into Hydrogen Fuel Production – Northwest Public Broadcasting April 11, 2019 Tom Banse
A hydrogen-powered future for Douglas County PUD – iFiberOne April 12, 2019 Jefferson Robbins
PUD hopes hydrogen fuels the future – Wenatchee World 4/16/19 Tony Buhr
Gov. Inslee signs a clean-energy bill. The twist? A Republican sponsored it. - Seattle Times April 19, 2019 Joseph O'Sullivan
Washington electric utility plans to produce renewable hydrogen - Hydrogen Fuel News April 19, 2019 Tami Hood
Hawkins Working with PUDs to Benefit Hydropoer Producers - KPQ April 18, 2019 Kevin Rounce
Governor Signs Sen. Hawkins Bill to Allow PUDs to Produce Hydrogen Fuel - KPQ April 18, 2019
Is there room for hydrogen-powered cars in a future that looks electric? - KLCC April 17, 2019 Tom Banse
Renewable Hydrogen Alliance