KGH and Queen’s awarded Kingston Hydro Electricity Conservation Award from SWITCH

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Queen’s University-KGH cogeneration facility has been recognized for its efforts in sustainable energy.
The $25-million facility, located on King Street within the Central Power Plant, allows KGH and Queen’s to maintain electricity supply to the hospital and a portion of the Queen’s campus independent of the provincial electricity grid during power blackouts or times of high usage.
This ability to operate off the grid and help reduce demand peak periods has earned KGH and Queen’s the Kingston Hydro Electricity Conservation Award from SWITCH, a sustainable energy association that brings together urban and rural businesses, researchers and innovators, educational institutions, students and other community-minded people in promoting sustainable energy, electricity conservation and the development of new technology or new uses for existing technology.
"KGH is proud to be recognized along with Queen's for our joint cogeneration project,” says Chris Mackey, Director of Facility Engineering and Maintenance. “The plant has provided the hospital with a reliable back-up power supply and savings from the project have offset operational costs.”
KGH learned of the plant’s value back in 2009 when more than 6,000 homes and business in Kingston lost power after a prolonged cold snap caused a main feeder line to break. The resulting outage affected a good cross-section of the downtown core forcing school boards and some businesses to suspend operations for the day. KGH and Queen’s were unaffected.
“Extreme cold weather can put the grid at risk. By powering up the cogen plant the day before, we helped mitigate the risk of an unplanned power failure,” says Mackey. “We never skipped a beat.”
The co-gen facility is capable of producing 15 megawatts of electricity (KGH’s peak load during the summer is less than half of this) using two large jet engines modified for power production. The facility, commissioned in late 2006, allows both institutions to save money by generating electricity while at the same time using the waste exhaust heat to boil water and create steam for heating the buildings through the existing steam distribution network.
“Co-gen allows KGH more assurance that patient care will not be impacted when electricity is not available for whatever reason – and we are able to do so in a more effective and energy efficient way,” says Mackey.