SSE Airtricity has won a landmark contract becoming the key provider of electricity and gas to Northern Ireland’s Health & Social Care Trusts
The deal, which is the largest energy supply contract ever to come to the Northern Irish 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 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 Norther Irish public sector tendering sustainability was assessed alongside price in the contract evaluation and 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.
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”