Bluewater Health is planning project to help with power needs

Initial bids for proposal are due next week, with project to be completed a year from this December

Transform Shared Service Organization, on behalf of Bluewater Health, has issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a project to fill a substantial portion of the Sarnia hospital’s ongoing energy needs.

The project, which is posted on the government contract portal, involves a combined heat and power plant (CHP) to produce electricity from a natural gas-fired engine. The plant is expected to reduce electricity costs while also capturing the heat by-product of the engine to re-use within the boiler plant.

A feasibility study determined the future plant’s optimal capacity to be 800 KWH, which would supply approximately 60% of the Sarnia hospital’s power needs. The project is expected to deliver savings of over $500,000 annually based on a conservative estimate of utility costs over the next 15 years.

With the rising costs of electricity, the project’s savings will come not only through lower costs on the power produced, but also through direct energy use reductions. Heat recovered from the plant’s internal combustion engine will not be released into the air as “waste,” but instead used within the facility’s boiler plant, thereby avoiding the additional use of existing boilers and fuel.

Officials say that while this is a new energy source, it creates clean and efficient power, and avoids the energy loss that occurs during delivery from Ontario’s electrical grid.

Savings will be applied to financing daily operations of the hospital or increasing its working capital while maintaining a manageable debt load, said officials in a news release.

An application for an incentive of $1.2 million toward the project was approved by Ontario’s Independent Electrical System Operator (IESO) and Bluewater Health has entered into a contract for the incentive with Bluewater Power.

“Bluewater Health has long been recognized in the healthcare sector for its leadership in environmental initiatives,” says Samer Abou-Sweid, vice president, Operations. “This is another example of forward-thinking that contributes to the hospital’s financial health while also reducing our ecological footprint.”

The RFP issued in June seeks bids for engineering services and closes next Wednesday (July 24, 2019.)

The location of the combined heat and power plant has not been decided, and will be determined during the engineering phase of the project. A second RFP for the build and installation portions of the project will be posted in the fall. The project is expected to be completed by December 1, 2020.

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