Commercial, Distributed Energy Resources, Energy Storage  -  March 7, 2019

Healthcare network plans for 4.1 MW fuel cell installation

A New England medical network set in motion plans to install 4.1 MW of fuel cells in the next year across its facilities. 

Based in Somerville, Mass., Partners HealthCare announced a 15-year power purchase agreement with Bloom Energy for installing the fuel cell systems at its corporate headquarters, North Shore Medical Center, and its data center in Marlborough. 

The integrated healthcare systems intend for the project to improve electric resiliency and reliability. Massachusetts experienced more than 100 power grid outages in 2017. 

"Our hospitals and medical centers care for more than 1.5 million patients each year," Dennis Villanueva, Partners’ senior manager of energy and sustainability, told Microgrid Knowledge. "Many of our facilities are open 24 hours per day, 365 days per year, so reliable electricity is both crucial to our operations, and one of our largest utility costs."

Villanueva also says the fuel cells will enhance the overall sustainability of Partners' HealthCare's operations and activities, citing other efforts it has implemented, such as on-site, distributed generation at all of their large facilities including solar, CHP/cogeneration, energy storage, and additional fuel cells.

The organization has a current goal of reducing its overall energy consumption by 40%, and according to Villanueva, it is half-way there. Partners' HealthCare recognizes the large rate the healthcare sector uses energy at; this project is meant to reduce that impact.

An energy system installed at Spaulding Hospital, in the Partners' network, in Cambridge at the end of 2018 has already reduced the amount that the facility spends on electricity. 

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