Powering the Future: Palomar Energy Center Green Hydrogen Project

Editor’s Note: In celebration of Earth Day on April 22, we will share updates throughout the week on a series of clean energy projects that we are developing. These projects represent some of the concrete steps that we are taking to deliver on our pledge to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045. 

We are constantly striving to foster more innovative, effective and sustainable approaches to powering San Diego. From grid innovations to electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure, we have aligned our ongoing sustainability strategy with local and state climate goals.  

With this in mind, and in honor of Earth Day, we are highlighting the green hydrogen pilot project at the Palomar Energy Center in Escondido, which will break ground this year and be in service near the end of 2023. 

Hydrogen is Versatile 

The Palomar Energy Center is a 565-megawatt power plant that serves hundreds of thousands of homes in the region. It is the perfect location to test multiple use cases for hydrogen. At Palomar, we will install solar panels to generate electricity to produce green hydrogen. This hydrogen: 

  •  Will be blended with natural gas as a fuel feed for an electric generator.  

  •  Used in an industrial application as a cooling gas for our electric turbines.  

  • And used to power the first fuel cell vehicles in our fleet. A hydrogen refueling station will be built at Palomar as part of the project.  

Hydrogen fuel cells generate power by combining hydrogen and oxygen atoms. As a result of this, hydrogen reacts with oxygen across an electrochemical cell (similar to a battery) to produce water, small ranges of heat and, ultimately, electricity.  

In addition to the hydrogen pilot project at the Palomar Energy Center, our company will also be piloting hydrogen as a long-duration energy storage system in Borrego Springs. To learn more about these ongoing innovations stay tuned for the rest of our stories on sdgenews.com.