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Health powerplay

THUNDER BAY -- The regional hospital is looking to produce some of its own power.
( file photograph)

THUNDER BAY -- The regional hospital is looking to produce some of its own power.

The Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre's board approved an engineering study for a cogeneration plant so the hospital can produce a portion of its electricity and heat, which will reduce its reliance on the grid.

"It will also allow us to produce some of our own hot water, which will be used in our building systems. Thus further reducing our dependence on natural gas and power," said Anne-Marie Heron, executive director of capital planning and operations.

"As a result, it will also reduce our greenhouse emissions and it will provide additional patient risk mitigation because we'll be more self-sustaining for power should there be an extended power outage," she added.

The engineering study will determine the location of the plant, but Heron said it will be an add-on and approximately 600 square-feet.

A rough estimate of the project's cost is $6 million for a 1.5 to two megawatt unit.

Heron said if approved, the Ontario Power Authority will fund up to 40 per cent of the project and the hospital would see a six to 10 year payback through energy savings.

The engineering study is expected to be completed by the fall and then the project will go to tender, with a projected spring installation.

Heron said the cogeneration plant fits in with the the hospital's existing energy retrofit plan.

Last year the Health Sciences Centre invested about $3 million into updating heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems to be more energy efficient.

"We're committed to ongoing reduction and efficiencies," said Heron.


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