Few things are as deadly as a hospital without power, but a new wind turbine is about to blow away one hospital’s fear of losing theirs. The largest of its kind in the Palestinian territories, Al Ahli Hospital provides care to 600,000 Palestinians living in the Hebron district. With 365 regular beds and a capacity for 500 patients in emergency situations, they can’t afford to lose the energy needed to keep people well.
So in 2009, a project was officially inaugurated to incorporate wind energy into the hospital’s generating mix, and the European Union agreed to fund 80 percent of it; now, following years of planning and mapping, a 700 kilowatt wind turbine is about to be installed. It is expected to start generating 40% of the hospital’s power by the end of 2012.
No more diesel for the West Bank hospital
What kind of energy does Al Ahli Hospital currently use?
“In exact figures, the hospital annual consumption of diesel is about 200,000 liters and when the project runs, half of this will be saved through renewable energy,” according to the EU Neighborhood Info Center (ENPI).
“The capacity will be implemented at the premises of the Al-Ahli Hospital to help meeting [sic] its energy needs and serve as a capacity building exercise to encourage and assist similar projects to be implemented in other similar health organizations in Palestine,” according to the Ahli Hospital Wind Energy Project (AWEP) literature.
In addition to the turbine, which will provide 330MW annually, the hospital is installing a solar thermal system that will bridge the gap in energy generation so that eventually there’s a chance that this hospital will be completely free of the growing insecurity of fossil fuel dependence.
Not only is this a humanitarian feat worthy of great applause, but it is also the most responsible step the facility could take towards slashing its heinous carbon footprint.
But installing the wind turbine is just the first step in a wider plan to help build resilience in the Palestinian territories.
“This action will further include a series of awareness-raising workshops for the community, local and international study visits and tours, training sessions, field and feasibility studies of potential sites for wind generation in Palestine, with a special focus on Hebron city and medical and health centres in general,” wrote AWEP.
The hospital and its contractors are working with Hebron Electric Power Co., the Renewable Energy Research Unit (REERU), the Palestine Polytechnic University (PPU) and the Palestinian Energy Authority to reach their goals. And what good green goals they are.
Image of a wind turbine, Shutterstock