Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Power plant at St. Joseph's Hospital cited as 'creative' answer to carbon pollution

TAMPA — Amid growing controversy over new carbon pollution standards, a pair of Democratic lawmakers visited St. Joseph's Hospital on Monday to learn about its alternative energy initiatives.

U.S. Reps. Kathy Castor, of Tampa, and Frank Pallone, of New Jersey, toured the hospital's cogeneration plant. Its natural gas-fired combustion engine can produce enough electricity to power the entire complex.

The system serves another purpose: Its heat can be turned into steam, which can be used to clean medical equipment.

Castor said the technology is particularly important in light of the new Clean Power Plan, a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rule that sets limits on carbon pollution from power plants.

"We've got to get creative," she said. "In Florida, we have to reduce our carbon pollution by well over 30 percent over the next 20 years."

Castor acknowledged the Clean Power Plan, established by the Obama Administration in August, is facing a court challenge from 27 states including Florida. She said the lawsuit could "put us further behind."

"We've got to focus on these innovative solutions now like this cogeneration plant, like energy efficiency, like renewable energy conservation so we can meet those targets," she said.

But Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi stood behind Florida's involvement in the challenge.

"As I have said in the past, Florida needs a diverse energy portfolio," she said in a statement. "However, the rule of law matters — states' rights matter — and the federal government must respect our sovereignty."

Bondi added: "Unfortunately, the congresswoman cares very little about the increasing costs associated with these burdensome regulations."

St. Joseph's has had the cogeneration plant since 1993. It saves about $200,000 a year and reduces the reliance on TECO Energy, said Tom Davidson, director of facilities for BayCare Health System's east region.

"It provides energy back to our hospital so we don't have to buy so much from the provider," he said.

The system also allows St. Joseph's to generate its own power in the event of a hurricane.

Davidson said the generator is one of only two like it in the country. Nearby Tampa General has four diesel gas generators for emergency standby power, but is exploring co-generator options, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Pallone, the ranking member of the powerful U.S. House Energy & Commerce Committee, said the model could be easily replicated elsewhere in the nation.

"It creates more efficiency and therefore saves energy, which is so important given climate change," he said.

He said he planned to take the idea back to Washington, and possibly incorporate it into future policies.

Contact Kathleen McGrory at kmcgrory@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8330. Follow @kmcgrory.

Power plant at St. Joseph's Hospital cited as 'creative' answer to carbon pollution 11/09/15 [Last modified: Monday, November 9, 2015 7:34pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Lady Antebellum's Charles Kelly talks family, songwriting and more before Tampa show

    Music & Concerts

    A while back at the Grammys, Charles Kelley found himself in the same room as Paul McCartney. The Lady Antebellum singer, a seven-time Grammy winner in his own right, couldn't work up the courage to say hello.

    Lady Antebellum perform at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on Friday. Credit: Eric Ray Davidson
  2. Clearwater suspect due in court after 9 die in sweltering San Antonio truck

    Nation

    SAN ANTONIO — Nine people are dead and the death toll could rise after emergency crews pulled dozens of people from a sweltering tractor-trailer found parked outside a Walmart in the midsummer Texas heat, victims of what officials said was an immigrant-smuggling attempt gone wrong.

    San Antonio police officers investigate the scene where eight people were found dead in a tractor-trailer loaded with at least 30 others outside a Walmart store in stifling summer heat in what police are calling a horrific human trafficking case, Sunday, July 23, 2017, in San Antonio. [Associated Press]
  3. What you need to know for Monday, July 24

    News

    Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    At 1.2 million gallons, the house of Harry Barkett in South Tampa used more water than anyone else in the Tampa Bay region between Jan. 1 and May 31 of this year, when Tampa was in a severe drought. ALESSANDRA DA PRA  |   Times
  4. Discovering the true meaning of Black Forest cake in the German region itself

    Cooking

    The first time I had a taste of the Black Forest, it wasn't by way of cake.

    Black Forest Cake in Germany was granted legally protected status in 2013. It must use the gateau’s original ingredients, including kirsch, a brandy made from fermented sour cherries from the region.
  5. Gov. Scott's tough talk on Venezuela may not turn into economic action

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — To show his solidarity with Venezuelans, Gov. Rick Scott held a rally in South Florida and repeatedly promised to punish companies that do business with the Nicolás Maduro regime.

    Gov. Rick Scott held a rally July 10 at El Arepazo restaurant to show solidarity with Venezuelans. Scott has said he wants to punish companies that work with the Nicol?s Maduro regime.