Centrica Business Solutions report reveals energy systems such as combined heat and power, solar panels, and battery storate solutions are key to meeting carbon reduction targets
The NHS could unlock savings of £187m a year by upgrading outdated energy systems, according to new research released by Centrica Business Solutions.
The saving, which amounts to £2.8billion over a typical 15-year energy contract, is identified in a new study that aims to assess the economic opportunity of public-sector organisations adopting green technology.
The Powering Britain’s Public Sector report found that if just half of all NHS trusts updated their energy systems – by deploying technology like combined heat and power (CHP) units, battery storage, and solar panels – it would deliver a 15% saving on energy bills, enough to pay the salaries of more than 5,800 nurses.
The adoption of new energy technology would also deliver an annual emissions saving of 450,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide, around 9% of the sector’s current carbon footprint, and the equivalent of taking more than 295,000 cars off the road.
It’s our view that better energy management through the adoption of distributed energy will be vital in helping the NHS to meet carbon reduction targets and release money that can be redirected towards frontline care
And the carbon reduction savings could be doubled with the injection of around 20% green gas – a type of gas created from biodegradable material – into the fuel mix.
The new report examines the impact that the adoption of distributed energy technology would have on the university, healthcare, and defence sectors.
Distributed energy solutions are designed to help organisations take control of their energy, so that it’s produced and managed at the point of use, often independent of the grid.
Combined, the three public-sector estates are responsible for more than 7.8m tonnes of carbon emissions each year and have been challenged by the Government to reduce emissions by 30% by 2020/21, and hit ‘net zero’ by 2050.
The report has been released by Centrica Business Solutions
Alan Barlow, director of UK and Ireland at Centrica Business Solutions, said: “Despite the Chancellor’s recent commitment to provide an additional £6.2billion of NHS funding, it remains under intense pressure, both to reduce costs and meet emission targets.
“What’s clear is that the NHS must deliver uninterrupted patient care, and that can be energy intensive.
“It’s our view that better energy management through the adoption of distributed energy will be vital in helping the NHS to meet carbon reduction targets and release money that can be redirected towards frontline care.”
Centrica aims to deliver £300m in energy-efficiency savings for the public sector and essential services globally by 2030, as part of its responsible business ambitions.
And to help the public sector implement the necessary energy technology changes, Centrica has made a series of recommendations to government, including the simplification of procurement frameworks and a stable and long-term regulatory environment.
One organisation that is already ahead of the game is the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, which provides integrated health and care services across 12 sites.
It has partnered with Centrica Business Solutions to reduce the amount it spends on energy in order to release funds that can be channelled into frontline patient care.
The trust invested £7m in a new 1.5MW combined heat and power unit (CHP) that will generate energy onsite at Wonford Hospital, as well as fitting solar panels at Wonford and Heavitree hospitals and at Mardon Neuro-Rehabilitation Centre.
What’s clear is that the NHS must deliver uninterrupted patient care, and that can be energy intensive
CHP technology works by converting gas into both electricity and heat in a single process and is one of the most-efficient sources of energy production, enabling organisations to produce a significant amount of their energy on-site, improving the resilience of supply and reducing costs.
The energy technology will save the trust £800,000 on its annual energy bills and reduce yearly emissions by more than 2,200 tonnes of carbon dioxide – equivalent to taking almost 1,500 cars off the road.