Kaiser Permanente plans to purchase enough wind and solar power to supply half of the electricity it uses at its more than 500 facilities in California. The Oakland-based system calls it the largest renewable energy buy to date for a healthcare organization.
The not-for-profit has signed two 20-year power production contracts that together are expected to cost about $35 million a year. Kaiser expects to do no worse than break even over the course of the agreements, compared to what it would have spent using other power sources, depending on shifts in electricity pricing.
“There could be periods of time where we don't (see a return), but the majority of those 20 years we expect to be in the black,” Kaiser's Chief Energy Officer Ramé Hemstreet said.
A solar energy plant in Blythe, Calif., that will supply 110 megawatts of solar power and 43 megawatts of wind power is being purchased from turbines at the planned Golden Hills Wind Project in Alameda County, both owned by Juno Beach, Fla.-based NextEra Energy Resources. One megawatt is roughly enough to power 1,000 homes. The plants are expected to be built over the next two years; Kaiser plans to start using the energy in 2016.
The health system also agreed to purchase as much as 70 megawatts of onsite solar power from NRG Energy, which will install ground and rooftop-mounted solar arrays at as many as 170 Kaiser facilities between 2015 and 2017.