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Kaiser Permanente to Power California Facilities With Fuel Cells

Deal with Bloom Energy will Place Onsite Generation at Seven Locations

OAKLAND, Calif., — Committed to improving the health of the communities it serves, Kaiser Permanente will deploy four megawatts of solid oxide fuel-cell generated power in a deal that will put fuel-cell generators at seven facilities in California by the end of this year. The agreement with Bloom Energy, which makes fuel cell energy servers, expands Kaiser Permanente’s commitment to using sustainable energy sources.

Installing these “Bloom Boxes” at Kaiser Permanente buildings is part of a larger plan to use onsite renewable energy sources to power Kaiser Permanente’s buildings nationwide. A focus on renewable energy is just one aspect of the organization’s industry-leading work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce the use of harmful chemicals, and promote sustainable food choices.

“Kaiser Permanente recognizes the health of the environment directly affects individual and community health,” says Kathy Gerwig, vice president and environmental stewardship officer at Kaiser Permanente.  “By expanding the use of cleaner energy technologies such as fuel cells, we’re demonstrating our commitment to greening our energy portfolio and reducing our carbon footprint.”

Kaiser Permanente’s investment in fuel cells will reduce the organization’s reliance on the public electric grid and help it diversify its energy sources. The four megawatts of fuel-cell power are expected to reduce Kaiser Permanente’s use of fossil fuels for online casino electricity by 34 percent at the locations where they are installed. The deal comes after Kaiser Permanente announced last year it would deploy 15 megawatts of solar power at 15 facilities across the state by the end of 2011.

Kaiser Permanente agreed to purchase energy through Bloom Electron(ssm) service, a power purchase agreement with Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Bloom Energy, which will install, own and operate all of the Bloom Boxes. The fuel cells will run on natural gas, with the potential to run on 100 percent directed biogas, a non-fossil methane derived from landfills or manure. Meanwhile, Bloom Energy has agreed to supply the utility natural gas network with biogas, to offset greenhouse gas emissions at Kaiser Permanente’s facilities.

“These fuel-cell agreements are a major step toward our goal of including a wide array of sustainable sources in our energy portfolio,” said Don Orndoff, senior vice president of National Facilities Services at Kaiser Permanente. In the future, energy sources could include thermal and wind energy in addition to fuel cells and solar.

This move is the latest in Kaiser Permanente’s long history of energy conservation and environmental stewardship. Sustainable design and construction practices, including the use of energy-saving infrastructure and non-toxic materials, help Kaiser Permanente to build green and stay on budget.

Through its green building efforts, Kaiser Permanente:

* Saves more than $10 million per year through energy conservation strategies. A leader in environmentally sustainable health care construction, Kaiser Permanente has committed to significantly reducing its use of fossil fuels and slowing energy growth over the next 10 years.
* Will use sustainable design and construction practices to complete roughly 6.7 million square feet of new construction in the next seven years.
* Eliminated the purchase and disposal of 40 tons of harmful chemicals.


Posted February 7, 2011

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