EAST WENATCHEE — The Douglas County PUD soon will have another 409 acres near both its hydrogen production facility and Wells Dam, though there are no plans to build yet.
PUD commissioners on Feb. 21 approved buying properties from C&O Nursery Company and Global Ag Properties USA LLC of almost 92 and 318 acres, for $4.9 million and $7 million, respectively.
Commissioners also authorized a leaseback agreement with C&O Nursery Company and a boundary line adjustment, as well as gave the go-ahead on a leaseback with Zirkle Fruit Company on the 318-acre parcel.
Commissioners acquired the land in case the PUD wanted to build on it later, said Meaghan Vibbert, PUD spokesperson. The location of the properties makes them ideal, she said, because they are near the hydrogen facility in Baker Flats and the Wells Dam Project.
“This 91-acre property will accommodate the (Public Utility) District’s hydrogen production and storage facility,” it stated in one resolution.
“The adjacent location of the 318 acres to the Wells Project and Hatchery make it ideal to accommodate the (Public Utility) District’s needs for storage of materials and equipment,” the other resolution stated.
Douglas County PUD broke ground in March 2021 on its first hydrogen fueling station, which will create hydrogen using hydropower from the Wells Hydroelectric Project.
The PUD purchased 28 acres of former orchard property for $2.15 million in Baker Flats for the project in late 2019. The PUD received a $250,000 grant from the state to help with design and engineering of the facility, followed by a $1.9 million grant in September from Centralia Coal Transition Board to help fund construction of the demonstration project. Other partners include the Bonneville Environmental Foundation, the Renewable Hydrogen Alliance and Toyota Motor North America.