Following a major procurement process, SSE Airtricity has emerged as the key provider of electricity and gas to the Health & Social Care Trusts (HSC) and other related HSC organisations. The deal, which is the largest energy supply contract ever to come to our market, is valued at just over £100 million.
SSE Airtricity, the region’s largest provider of wind power and second largest energy provider, now supplies ‘dual fuel’ natural gas and 100 per cent renewable electricity to the Belfast, Western, South Eastern and Northern Trusts as well as the Health & Social Care Board and the Business Services Organisation. The deal also sees SSE Airtricity supplying natural gas to the Southern Trust.
The contract win was announced today at Stormont by Minister of Health, Michelle O'Neill MLA, with Andrew Greer, SSE Airtricity General Manager (NI).
Following the tender process, SSE Airtricity is powering the care and wellbeing of more than 1.5 million patients attending health and social care services facilities across the region, whether in hospitals or local health centres. Over the four-year term of the contract, the total energy demand is expected to be over 2.5TWh, equivalent to the energy needed to power 350,000˄ homes annually.
Switching to SSE Airtricity’s 100% renewable electricity is a significant commitment for Health Trusts. The injection of a clean, green power supply into each of the Trusts cuts harmful carbon dioxide emissions by 227,550 tonnes*, equivalent to the carbon stored by over 2,000 acres of mature rainforest** or the fuel emitted by a jet airplane circumnavigating Earth almost 50,000 times.
For the first time ever in public sector tendering, and in line with the ten-year government health framework ‘Making Life Better’, sustainability was assessed alongside price in the contract evaluation. Sustainability proposals from SSE Airtricity achieved full marks in the tendering process. In addition to supplying 100 per cent renewable energy, SSE Airtricity will roll out a four-year Sustainability Engagement Programme, which includes a package of initiatives across each Trust and organisation that directly links to the key objectives of the ‘Making Life Better’ framework – ranging from the establishment of an annual student nursing and midwifery bursary to sponsorship of in-service energy awareness weeks amongst many other initiatives.
Speaking about the contract, Michelle O’Neill MLA, Minister for Health, said:
“This new contract will see electricity supplied from 100% renewable sources, flexibility for organisations in how they procure their energy and savings in excess of £4million on electricity during the first year of the contract.
“The health and social care sector can play a leading role in reducing carbon emissions and encouraging healthier lifestyles to combat climate change, save money, and achieve health benefits. By pooling our resources and using the buying power of the entire health sector, we have managed to drive down costs by 20% and contribute to the well-being of our planet by using renewable, sustainable and flexible energy sources.
“I am also delighted that over the course of the contract, extensive support will be provided to HSC organisations in line with the aims of the public health framework Making Life Better. This will cover a wide range of initiatives, for example campaigns and community energy saving awareness schemes, sponsorship of access to events for charities and underprivileged young people, health and wellbeing and volunteering programmes.”
Andrew Greer, SSE Airtricity General Manager (NI), welcomed the outcome of the tender process:
“All of us at SSE Airtricity are immensely proud to be providing the power that helps over 70,000 HSC health professionals and staff to care for the more than 1.5 million patients of Health & Social Care Trust services each year. As a result of this major public sector contract win, SSE Airtricity is now providing 100 per cent green electricity as well as gas to all HSC Trusts across the region bar one, along with energy to other HSC organisations. By switching to SSE Airtricity’s clean, green electricity supply the Trusts will dramatically improve their carbon footprints by together eliminating over 225,000 tonnes of harmful CO2 emissions.
“This is the first public sector tender here to contain a sustainability requirement, and as a company founded on the principles of sustainability and renewable power, we’re pleased to see this principle established in this tender. We are particularly proud that through our innovative Sustainability Engagement Programme we’ll be making a real difference to the sustainability objectives of each of the Trusts. Over the next four years we will work in partnership with the Trusts to support their long-term vision towards ‘Making Life Better’ for our HSC, and in particular for our dedicated HSC healthcare professionals and for the 1.5 million patients who use Trust services each year.”
˄ Equivalent homes powered based on total projected energy demand over the four year contract of 615,000MWh for electricity and 1,900MWh for gas, and calculated using typical annual consumption of 3,200 kWh for electricity and 12,500 kWh for natural gas.
* 227,550 tonnes of carbon dioxide offset based on the projected electricity power load of 615,000MWh over the lifetime of the contract and calculated using latest published All-Island Average CO2 Emissions of 0.370t/MWh (Utility Regulator, published August 2015).
** An acre of mature forest stores 109 tonnes of carbon dioxide on average (The Woodland Trust).