GM Message: Help us explore our region’s clean energy future

by General Manager Kirk Hudson | Dec 11, 2023

Join us Dec. 14

Help us explore our region’s clean energy future

Our early leaders had great foresight more than 60 years ago to design, build and acquire hydropower dams in North Central Washington. Hydropower has brought countless benefits to our region, including some of the lowest electricity rates in the U.S., along with contributions to the regional quality of life such as reliable electric, water, and wastewater services, access to high-speed fiber optic broadband services, extensive park systems, electrical vehicle charging stations, public art, support of economic development through utility infrastructure and much more.

Today’s PUD leaders want to build on that legacy by taking steps today to continue to bring benefits to the community for the next 50 years and beyond. As we anticipate continued regional growth, we need to explore additional clean energy supply opportunities and new technologies to ensure we are best positioned for an increasing volume and velocity of changes in the coming decades. A proactive approach today will help create value for our region for decades into the future.

Clean Energy Expo

Here’s how we’re engaging you in this effort. We’re starting a community dialogue to explore some exciting energy sources and their potential future in North Central Washington. We’re joining together with Douglas and Grant County PUDs to host the Clean Energy Expo so that we can learn more about multiple technologies that can enhance our local utilities’ clean energy future and build on the region’s hydropower resources. We invite you to share your feedback to help ensure we are well positioned to meet future energy needs and continue to bring a range of benefits to our communities.

Clean Energy Expo
Thursday, Dec. 14, 2023
2 – 6 pm
Wenatchee Convention Center
Technology presentations, refreshments, prizes and more
Learn more and RSVP to attend: Clean Energy Expo (

Below are energy sources that we’ll be featuring at this upcoming event. We’re asking people attending to visit the energy technology stations around the exhibit hall, hear presentations about various energy sources and ask lots of questions. We’ll have a short survey you can complete at the event so you can provide us with feedback. We want your input!

Hydropower is electricity produced by using flowing water to turn a mechanical turbine-generator system. Electricity produced by a rotating turbine-generator must be used as it is generated. Reservoirs are built to store water so electricity can be generated when there is demand for it to be used.

Solar power is electricity produced by the conversion of energy from sunlight, either directly using photovoltaics (PV) or indirectly using concentrated solar powerPhotovoltaic cells convert light into an electric current. Concentrated solar power systems use lenses or mirrors to collect and focus a large area of sunlight to a boiler to create steam to drive a turbine.

Wind power is electricity produced by the earth’s winds flowing by a turbine, causing it to rotate and turn a generator. The turbine-generator system is typically mounted above 100 feet in the air on a single steel pole to where wind speeds are higher and there is less turbulence from ground effects. Commercial-sized wind turbines typically need a minimum wind speed of 6 mph and operate at peak power and efficiency at about 30 mph. 

Battery power is electricity stored in the form of chemical energy, and through a process called an electrochemical reaction it converts that chemical energy into electricity. Rechargeable batteries – like the kind in your cellphone – are designed so that electrical energy from an outside source (the charger that you plug into the wall) can be applied to the chemical system and restore the battery’s charge. Two types of rechargeable batteries are used to support the electric grid: lithium-ion and iron flow.

Fission power is electricity made by splitting the nucleus of uranium atoms into two or more smaller nuclei, which results in the release of large amounts of energy. The heat that is released is used to boil water into steam, which is used to drive a turbine-generator. Today’s nuclear power plants use the fission process.

Fusion is the reaction that powers the sun and the stars. Fusion power is a proposed power generation that would generate electricity by using heat to make steam that would turn a turbine or by direct electricity production. In a fusion process, two lighter atomic nuclei combine to form a heavier nucleus, while releasing energy. As of 2023, no device has reached net power. Most fusion designs aim to heat their fuel to around 100 million degrees, which presents a significant challenge in producing a successful design.

Geothermal power is electricity produced by using heat from within the earth’s core to convert water or other organic liquids to steam, which is used to drive a turbine-generator. An ideal earth temperature is 225 degrees F. Dry steam plants take advantage of natural underground sources of steam to turn a turbine-generator. Flash-steam plants use naturally occurring sources of hot underground water to create steam and turn a turbine-generator. Binary cycle closed looped systems use the earth’s heat to heat water in an underground pipeline, and working with another organic liquid creates steam to turn a turbine-generator.

Pumped Storage is a type of hydro-electric energy storage. It is a configuration of two water reservoirs at different elevations connected with large diameter pipes (penstocks).  When the water flows down by gravity from the upper reservoir it passes through a turbine-generator to create electricity. The system requires electricity to pump the water back into the upper reservoir. Energy can be generated when energy is needed most, and then pumped to a high elevation when it's not needed, and energy market conditions are favorable.

Gravity storage uses the force of gravity on a large, elevated mass to turn a generator. Similar to pumped storage, it takes advantage of different elevations – lower and higher – to convert gravitational energy into electricity. Electricity is used to raise the mass, such as a block of concrete, to a higher elevation when surplus energy is available. When the energy is needed, the mass is lowered, turning the generator which creates electricity.

Hydrogen is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, non-toxic gas at temperatures above negative 473 degrees C. Hydrogen is the most abundant chemical substance in the universe, constituting roughly 75% of all normal matter. Hydrogen can be burned to create steam or as an alternative fuel to power vehicles. It can also be used to create electricity in a fuel cell. Pure hydrogen can be created by a chemical process called electrolysis which separates water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen molecules.

fuel cell converts the chemical energy of a fuel into electricity. A fuel cell is very similar to a battery except it needs a constant supply of fuel to generate electricity instead of substances that are already present in the battery. A hydrogen fuel cell uses hydrogen and oxygen to generate electricity with byproducts consisting of water and carbon dioxide.

It’s an exciting time in North Central Washington as we explore our clean energy future. Please join us Dec. 14 at the Wenatchee Convention Center to learn about multiple energy technologies and how they could build on our region’s hydropower resources.

At Chelan PUD, we want to continue to engage the community to fulfill our vision of providing the best value for the most people for the longest time.

Please reach out to me with any questions or comments at I hope to see you there.

General Manager Kirk Hudson
Chelan PUD 

Media contacts

Rachel Hansen: (509) 661-4320
Libby Siebens: (509) 661-8291

Outages or Emergencies

Visit our Safety and Outage Center for information, or to report an outage, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, call 1-877-PUD-8123.


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