Kaiser Permanente signed an agreement this week with NextEra Energy Resources to purchase 180 megawatts of solar and wind generation as well as battery storage capacity. The deal is expected to help the largest nonprofit integrated health care system in the United States reach its goal of being carbon neutral in 2020.
The agreement covers 50 MW of wind farm generation, 131 MW of solar farm generation, and 110 MW of battery storage capacity. Altogether, the total is enough electricity to power 27 of their 39 hospitals year-round, according to the health care provider. This PPA is also expected to make Kaiser Permanente the largest purchaser of renewable energy in the US health care sector.
NextEra Energy Resources will build and operate the renewable energy project. According to Kaiser, the solar farm and battery storage are under way in eastern Riverside County, California. The wind farm will be located in Arizona with power transmission delivered directly to the California grid across the border, Kaiser says.
The projects are expected to come online in 2020 and 2021. The health care provider will start receiving renewable energy credits next year.
In addition to purchasing renewable energy, Kaiser reports achieving a 29% reduction in net greenhouse gas emissions since 2008, reducing water usage by 12% per square foot of building space since 2013, and issuing $1 billion in Green Bonds to fund LEED Platinum and Gold building projects.
Kaiser has joined climate initiatives that include RE100, the California Healthcare Climate Alliance, and Ceres Connect the Drops. The health care provider currently serves more than 12.2 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia.
“Climate change is here. We are seeing the effects of it in devastating wildfires, hurricanes and droughts already impacting people’s lives,” said Bernard J. Tyson, Kaiser’s chairman and CEO. “By investing in renewable energy and becoming carbon neutral, Kaiser Permanente is helping to prevent climate-related illness for people worldwide.”
The health care sector is responsible for nearly 10% of all greenhouse gas emissions, according to US News & World Report. At the same time, energy efficiency and renewable energy investments are growing trends at American healthcare providers such as Gundersen Health System in Wisconsin and Windham Hospital in Willimantic, Connecticut.
“We’re saving $1 [million] to $3 million a year in hard cash,” Jeff Thompson, the former CEO of Gundersen Health System told US News & World Report. “We’re polluting a lot less.”