Solar Investment for a Greener Future

Posted on 20 Oct 2021

Mediclinic has an agreement with a black-owned renewable energy producer to ensure its hospitals have access to affordable and clean power.

Healthcare facilities required significant energy as medical equipment, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems are in operation on a 24/7 basis. The main source of energy is electricity that is generated from fossil fuels.

Earlier this year, Mediclinic Southern Africa released its broadly defined action plans to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.  To become carbon neutral, a business needs to offset its direct carbon emitted into the atmosphere, plus reconsider its energy usage and the emissions associated with its energy consumption. A company’s greenhouse gas emissions are classified in three scopes.

Scope 1: Direct emissions, including stationary and mobile fuels, medical and fugitive gases (leaks from refrigeration and air conditioning units)

Scope 2: Purchased electricity from utility provider that is generated by coal

Scope 3: Indirect emissions linked to the company’s operations.

A business can eliminate scope 2 emissions by purchasing 100% green / renewable energy.  Mediclinic Southern Africa’s strategy regarding the reduction of Scope 2 emissions resulting from purchased electricity from the current utility provider, consists of the following:

Reduction in electricity consumption:

  1. i) change in behaviour and
  2. ii) investment in energy efficiency projects, and

Increased use of renewable energy:

iii) On-site PV systems at all facilities where possible and

  1. iv) procurement of Off-site renewable energy (wheeling from off-site plants)

As Petrus Swanepoel, Infrastructure Sustainability Manager for Mediclinic South Africa explains, current planning includes reducing annual electricity consumption by 2030; and increasing the use of on-site and off-site renewable energy from ± 5GWh to ±70 GWh per annum in 2030.

Earlier this year, president Cyril Ramaphosa increased the limit on self-generation of renewable power from 1MW to 100MW, including the ability to sell excess capacity into the grid.  The Mediclinic group then signed a 12-year agreement with a black-owned alternative renewable energy asset manager Moshesh Partners to install and maintain solar photovoltaic (PV) systems at six of its hospitals. The agreement can be extended to 25 years, ensuring that the hospitals have access to affordable, clean energy  over that time period.

The systems are currently being installed and will reduce the six hospitals’ energy bills while relieving pressure on the constrained national grid. The state-of-the-art PV systems will also greatly reduce the hospital group’s carbon footprint.  The 6 will have the capacity to generate approximately 4,1 GWh  per annum, with the largest facilities being installed at Mediclinic Vergelegen and Mediclinic Durbanville.

In addition to this forward-thinking investment, Mediclinic has entered a deal to buy renewable electricity from Energy Exchange of Southern Africa. Energy Exchange is a platform where independent power producers in South Africa can sell renewable energy.

‘While Mediclinic strongly believes that the use of renewable energy is important in ensuring a healthy planet for future generations, reducing consumption by investing in energy-efficient equipment and renewable energy sources also assists in mitigating rising electricity costs. In addition, the agreement will likely provide an economic benefit as the annual tariff increases are expected to be inflation-linked,’ says Kobus Jonck, General Manager of Infrastructure at Mediclinic Southern Africa.

 



Published in Innovation