Kaiser Permanente (KP), the nation’s largest integrated healthcare system, seeks to achieve carbon neutrality by 2020 and carbon positive by 2025. Towards this, KP is exploring the use of renewable microgrids, a groundbreaking step towards providing cleaner energy generation and reducing consumption.
Kaiser Richmond Medical Center is the first hospital in California to implement a renewable energy-fueled microgrid – an energy system that collects, stores, and releases energy on demand. The California Energy Commission’s Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) program, provided a $4.77 million grant to fund this project. Mazzetti worked directly with Charge Bliss, the primary energy consultant and developer, to design and engineer the microgrid.
KP Richmond Medical Center’s microgrid is a 250-kilowatt solar panel, installed atop the center’s 5-level parking garage. The microgrid supplements the hospital’s electrical demand with cleaner energy, augmenting energy loads at peak hours, offsetting the need for power from the grid, and reducing consumption by at least 365,000 kilowatt-hours annually. The microgrid is able to store one megawatt-hour of energy in batteries, and, if a power outage were to occur, the microgrid will furnish power to the 50-bed acute care facility, allowing the hospital to operate as an “island” (supporting critical systems for up to three hours).
This project further demonstrates KP’s commitment to influence innovative change, providing cleaner solutions while positively impacting its bottom line. It’s also a potential model for future healthcare infrastructure and the benefits of “islanding” as a reliable back-up power source. Given unpredictable climatic events, often resulting in mass power outages, the priority of alternative, local power sources increases. Pending the performance of this project, the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) will evaluate and determine feasibility to allow microgrids for other hospitals in California.