Energy resilience of hospitals

Hospitals in Germany are facing challenges such as rising energy prices and cyber attacks, but they also have the potential to generate energy themselves through photovoltaic systems, heat pumps, and stationary batteries. Digitizing central processes can reduce the workload for nursing staff and be included in certification and GDPR reviews. Rainer Bachmann, CEO of E:E Consulting GmbH, recommends these solutions for hospitals to promote self-sufficiency and ensure smooth operations.

Energy prices have risen sharply, cyber attacks are increasing drastically, recruiting new nurses is difficult. But the hospitals in Germany are currently facing other new, major challenges. At the same time, there is a lot of potential in hospitals.

Hospitals are part of the healthcare system and are therefore part of the critical infrastructure (KRITIS). They must have their IT security certified according to the ISO 27001 standard in order to be able to maintain operations without disruption. In addition, there are the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) regarding patient data.

On the energy side, the situation is typically such that hospitals obtain electricity and gas from external suppliers and operate combined heat and power (CHP) units because they have a high heating and cooling requirement. The BHKWe also supply electricity – albeit stochastically, so that it is fed into the public electricity distribution network unplanned. In return, the hospitals receive a combined heat and power (CHP) payment that is well below the market prices for electricity.

Hospitals and groups of hospitals have the potential to generate energy in sufficient quantities. Small hospitals can be locally and directly so-called. Obtain “regional electricity”. Larger hospitals can install photovoltaic systems and heat pumps. To secure the power supply, we recommend using a large, stationary battery that can temporarily store the solar power and also replace the emergency power generator. The vehicle fleet can be successively converted to e-vehicles: the feeding of self-generated electricity from renewable energies (RE) into the e-vehicles is strongly encouraged by the greenhouse gas quota. In addition, there are now applications that control the thermal storage of the CHP units in such a way that a so-called “generation timetable” can be implemented the following day.

If it is a group of hospitals, a “Virtual Power Plant” (VPP) can also be used: this optimizes any electricity purchases and can provide highly remunerated control energy services.

PV can be installed on the roofs and above the parking lots of the hospitals. In addition, heat pumps can also be operated with this self-generated electricity: this can significantly reduce or completely replace the purchase of electricity from the public grid – and thus promote self-sufficiency. The municipalities now have information on where the use of heat pumps is worthwhile. With the use of one-kilowatt hour from renewable energy, the generation of heat can reach up to seven-kilowatt hours.

In addition, the administrations can plan certification according to ISO 27001. In preparation, it would make sense to plan the digitization of central processes – this can significantly reduce the workload for the nursing staff. The digitized processes would be included in the certification and GDPR review.


Rainer Bachman | CEO E:E Consulting GmbH | LinkedIn | Copyright: Rainer Bachmann

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