Wells Dam, owned by the Douglas County Public Utility District, will supply electricity to pull hydrogen gas out of well water. A fish hatchery has been built in the last two years alongside the dam. Credit: Steve Ringman/The Seattle Times This article is the result of a partnership between Inside Climate News and The Seattle Times. EAST WENATCHEE, Washington—On warm spring days, when the Columbia River is swollen with snowmelt, hydropower generation soars at times when demand may be weak. Markets tank, and sending water through dam turbines can be a money-losing proposition. In a quest to end these red-ink power sales, the Douglas County Public Utility District is making a $20 million investment in a new, clean energy business. In an old apple orchard now cleared of trees, a small portion of the electricity from the district’s Wells Dam will be harnessed to make hydrogen fuel from well water. “This can solve a lot of problems for us,” said Gary Ivory, the utility district’s general manager at a March groundbreaking for the project. “If it works, we can scale it up.” We deliver climate news to your inbox like nobody else. Every day or once a week, our […]


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