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Auckland Hospital gets new power supply

Media release: Tuesday 12 April 2005

Auckland Hospital gets new power supply

Auckland City Hospital is now receiving heat and electricity from its own on-site “mini power station” following the recent commissioning of the new power plant.

The unit is owned and run by specialist energy solutions company Meridian Solutions, which built the plant.

Meridian Solutions General Manager Mike Suggate says in 2002 the Auckland District Health Board selected the company as its preferred energy partner to develop and operate a new cogeneration energy centre at the expanded Auckland City Hospital. Under the arrangement Meridian Solutions is responsible for supplying baseload heat and electricity as well as standby power in the event of a grid or local network failure.

Auckland DHB Facilities Manager Paul Jepsen said the 20-year deal represents a good example of an innovative solution that benefits the hospital and the wider community through the plant providing some of the electricity needed to run the hospital.

“The new energy plant is consistent with the Government's national energy conservation strategy which encourages "embedded generation", reducing demand on the national grid and reducing the hospital’s reliance on the over-burdened national infrastructure.

Mr Suggate says with Meridian Solutions completely funding the project, the District Health Board has saved $2.3 million that it would have otherwise had to fund, enabling investment in other critical areas of healthcare.

The cogeneration plant will generate 3.6 megawatts (MW) of electricity - the average load of about 3600 homes - from two 1.8 MW gas-fired engines. The plant includes a third 1.8 MW diesel engine that will supply back-up power in the case of a supply interruption to the hospital. With higher efficiency than large thermal power stations, the new cogeneration plant will also help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

All three generators were manufactured in Germany by Deutz AG, and are housed in a new purpose-built building near the hospital’s existing energy facilities.

“One of the biggest challenges of the project has been integrating the new system with the hospital’s existing systems – the cooling system, the electrical network and control system,” says Mr Suggate.

“To provide the hospital with the energy efficiency it requires, the cogeneration plant has a complex control system that, among other things, optimises engine performance by taking into account elements like the spot price of electricity, heat demand from the hospital and the cost of gas and diesel fuel.”


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