(Good Things Utah) – Intermountain Healthcare is taking a major step in sustainability by joining a utility-scale solar project near Huntington, Utah, that will supply 20 percent of the health system’s total electricity needs. The new power purchase agreement from the Castle Solar Project, owned and being developed by D. E. Shaw Renewable Investments (DESRI), will supply Intermountain facilities with clean renewable energy for the next 20 years.

This is Intermountain’s biggest step in sustainability so far and we only plan to do more in the future. We want to help drive the solutions that will clean our air and make things better in the communities we serve.

Glen Garrick, sustainability director at Intermountain Healthcare.

The project is made possible by Intermountain’s partnership with DESRI, a leading national renewable energy developer-owner-operator, and Rocky Mountain Power.

DESRI will own, construct, and operate the solar installation while Rocky Mountain Power will provide the transmission grid. Because the project is being built on state trust lands, some of the money will go back to the state for public schools and institutions.

Intermountain is leading the way among healthcare systems in delivering affordable care to its patients while committing to clean energy use. This Castle solar project is another in DESRI’s national renewable energy fleet being added in coming years that will support rural economies.

Hy Martin, DESRI’s Chief Development Officer

It is expected to be operating by June 2022 and will produce approximately 55,000-megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity per year. The amount of greenhouse gases avoided for this project is equivalent to the total energy used by nearly 5,200 homes in one year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Studies have shown the environment in a community has a direct impact on the health of the people who live there. Liz Joy, MD, senior medical director of health and wellness at Intermountain Healthcare, says projects like these are a vital step to reducing the type of air pollution that contributes to breathing issues.

Every step we take sustainably is another step to cleaning the air in Utah’s communities. The cleaner we keep our air the better health we are going to see in every aspect of medical care.

Dr. Liz Joy, Senior Medical Director of Health and Wellness at Intermountain Healthcare

Air quality is a major issue in Utah, especially during the winter inversion season, and in the summer when ozone levels are higher. Dr. Joy notes there is no healthy level of air pollution and it can impact even the healthiest among us.

Bad air during the Wasatch Front’s typical winter inversion is a compounding issue, meaning that air pollution builds up over time. Taking these steps before the air quality deteriorates to dangerous levels can help prevent it from getting there in the first place. That’s why clean air advocates urge people to adopt better habits throughout the year.

Visit Intermountain Healthcare to learn more.

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