Combined Heat and Power (CHP) systems offer many advantages for health care facilities.
Greater energy efficiency: CHP systems use the same molecules of gas to produce both heat and power. This significantly improves the efficiency of a facility's energy use, making it 80-90% efficient.
New revenue: Power from CHP systems can be sold to the provincial power grid at preferential prices that reflect the efficiency and environmental advantages of such systems. Currently, facilities must negotiate a supply contract with the Ontario Power Authority, but we are hopeful that the OPA will soon put in a place a standard offer program for CHP power. Under such a system, qualifying systems will be paid a pre-determined rate and there will be no need for individual negotiations.
More robust emergency power: CHP systems can compliment current diesel powered emergency power systems. Many hospitals and other health care facilities do not currently have sufficient emergency power generation to meet their growing peak power needs. Hospitals with CHP systems are in a better position to remain fully operational, particularly in the event of an extended blackout. The natural gas distribution system is powered independently of the provincial power grid, meaning there will be no fuel supply disruption in the event of a blackout. By contrast, facilities may find it difficult to access additional diesel fuel supplies in the event of an extended blackout.
Lower emissions: CHP systems offer lower emissions than both conventional diesel powered emergency power systems and centralized gas and coal power plants. As a result of their high efficiency and the fact that natural gas is a much cleaner than coal, the GHG emission rate per kWh of electricity of a CHP plant is 80% lower than that of a coal plant. CHP systems also eliminate health threats like mercury, lead and particulate matter produced by burning coal. By using CHP, health facilities are helping to reduce air pollution and reducing their climate impact, thereby setting a green example for their communities.