OAKLAND, Calif., Sept. 6, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Kaiser Permanente, the nation's largest nonprofit, integrated health care system, has received a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 2019 Green Power Leadership Award in recognition of its use of renewable sources of energy to power its 39 hospitals and more than 700 medical offices. The award recognizes a major renewable energy agreement that will enable Kaiser Permanente to become carbon neutral in 2020.
The EPA defines green power as zero-emissions electricity that is generated from environmentally preferable renewable resources, such as wind, solar, geothermal, biogas, eligible biomass, and low-impact hydropower. Kaiser Permanente uses more than 1 million megawatt-hours of green power annually, which includes approximately 60,000 MWh of solar power generated at its facilities. Kaiser Permanente's 2020 commitment is to use green power for all the electricity it purchases, and carbon offsets to equal emissions from onsite equipment such as gas-fired boilers that heat its buildings.
The power purchase agreement that earned Kaiser Permanente this award was for the electricity from new utility-scale wind and solar farms, as well as the storage capacity from a new battery facility. It is part of a comprehensive portfolio of renewable energy solutions that are projected to be cost neutral, aligning Kaiser Permanente's clean energy future with its mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care.
"Using renewable energy and doing the work to become carbon neutral is an easy choice as it allows us to improve the health of the communities we serve while simultaneously reducing utility cost, which ultimately helps to keep health care affordable," said Ramé Hemstreet, vice president of operations and chief sustainable resources officer for Kaiser Permanente. "We're proud of this award and hope we can be an example for others to follow as more organizations embrace sustainable business practices."
Kaiser Permanente's commitment to using sustainable wind and solar electricity is among its efforts to reduce and eliminate the environmental causes of illness.
"From heat-related illnesses to air quality issues, and even the emotional trauma of frequent and severe natural disasters like wildfires and hurricanes, the negative health impacts of climate change are real, and they are already being felt," said Kathy Gerwig, Kaiser Permanente's environmental stewardship officer. "Using renewable energy is a sustainable and affordable way to work toward reversing that damage and create a healthier future for every community."
The EPA previously named Kaiser Permanente a Green Power Leadership Award winner in 2013 and 2015 for its use of wind and solar power. The program, started in 2001, recognizes the achievement among EPA Green Power Partners who distinguish themselves through green power procurement, market leadership, overall green power strategy, and overall impact on the green power market.