Community Commitment
January 24, 2024

Xcel Energy and Gundersen Health System partner for 100% resilient, renewable campus

Our EMPOWER Resiliency program offers innovative ways to meet customer needs

Xcel Energy and Gundersen Health System have signed an agreement to create one of the first 100% renewable energy health care campuses in the United States on the system’s Onalaska campus in western Wisconsin. 
Through Xcel Energy’s EMPOWER Resiliency program, Gundersen will build an all-renewable energy microgrid on the campus. The microgrid will combine a new battery energy storage system with Gundersen’s existing solar panels and energy generated through a longtime partnership with the La Crosse County Landfill for even greater sustainability and resiliency during power grid outages.
What is a microgrid? 
A microgrid is a local electrical grid with defined boundaries, like the Gundersen Onalaska Campus. It can operate connected to the larger energy grid, or as an “island” that functions independently. 
Xcel Energy is the first utility in Wisconsin to offer a comprehensive program to support microgrids and other resiliency projects for large business customers and governmental entities who require a higher-than-standard service reliability. The program allows customers like Gundersen to choose resiliency options to best meet their critical needs. 
"Safe and reliable power delivery to our customers is at the heart of Xcel Energy's business," said Karl Hoesly, president, Xcel Energy–Wisconsin and Michigan. "We recognize that some of our major commercial and industrial customers have exceptional resiliency needs to maintain their operations. With the EMPOWER Resiliency program, we are proud to help Gundersen achieve their resiliency, sustainability and other energy-related goals." 
Gundersen is a national leader in health care sustainability practices and the first health care system in the United States to produce more energy than it consumes. Gundersen is committed to partnerships like EMPOWER Resiliency to help ensure care is accessible, costs are lowered through energy savings, and innovative investment and development are the expectation across the system. 
"We are excited to be partnering with Xcel Energy on this innovative project. This is something rarely seen in health care. It’s happening right here in Onalaska on a campus that is an innovation center for Gundersen,” says Alan Eber, Director of Gundersen Envision, the health system’s sustainability program. “This is a groundbreaking chance for a utility and a health system to come together to lower costs and create a more resilient campus for patient and community care.” 
The Onalaska Campus microgrid project design phase is underway. The project is expected to be completed in 2025. 
Xcel Energy first launched EMPOWER Resiliency in Wisconsin following Public Service Commission approval in late 2021. Since then, a microgrid on the Bayfield County campus in northern Wisconsin – including the sheriff’s department, jail, courthouse and county offices – became operational in the fall of 2023.  
One of Empower Resiliency’s key benefits is the reduction of traditional cost barriers for our customers. Xcel Energy can provide the capital to invest in customer solutions, allowing them to pay for resiliency equipment over time on their bill. This product is available to all commercial, government and industrial customers in Xcel Energy’s Minnesota and Wisconsin service territories. 
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