Microgrid Projects Show Tech’s Potential for Healthcare

January 27, 2021

Increasing interest in reliability, resilience and flexibility among healthcare facilities is increasing these organizations’ interest in distributed energy systems, including microgrids. One major hospital chain is developing demonstration projects to showcase the possibilities of the technology.

Kaiser Permanente plans to demonstrate a range of energy innovations at a hospital microgrid in Ontario, Calif., that will include how to incorporate renewable energy and move away from diesel generators, according to Microgrid Knowledge. The hospital microgrid also will feature a fuel cell and a demonstration virtual power plant (VPP) with power provided from microgrids located in up to three different utility territories.

The Ontario project follows a similar endeavor at a Kaiser Permanente hospital in Richmond, Calif., says David Bliss, a surgeon and CEO of Charge Bliss, which aims to bring renewable energy and resilience to hospitals, especially those in disadvantaged communities.

The project, which includes 2.2 megawatts (MW) of solar, a 1 MW fuel cell from Bloom Energy and a 9 MWh battery, is funded in part by an $8 million grant from the California Energy Commission (CEC), which seeks to demonstrate the innovation the project is expected to achieve.

Demonstrating the advantages of hospital microgrids was the aim of the Richmond project, which also received some CEC funding. It was the first microgrid to connect renewable energy to a hospital’s existing diesel backup power system.

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