Pepsi’s renewable energy drive cited

The local unit of Pepsi-Cola Corp. has won praise for sourcing the power requirements of its bottling plants from renewable energy.

“Clean energy development is the priority of the United States,” US Ambassador Harry Thomas said after visiting Pepsi-Cola Philippines plant in La Union. “Investments in clean energy will not only lead to the reduction in overall energy consumption, but also create jobs and help business develop new technologies that could lead to even greater efficiencies.”

The plant in Rosario town, which supports Pepsi Cola’s North Luzon operations, is site of a biomass-fired cogeneration facility currently being built.

The facility will replace the existing diesel-fed generator set and fuel oil-fired boiler.

It will use rice hull, wood chips and other biomass materials as fuel.

The project is being undertaken by Pepsi-Cola with local company Solutions for Renewable Energy Inc. (SURE) under a build-operate-and-transfer agreement.

SURE will be contracting with rice millers and farmers in La Union and Pangasinan for the long term supply of rice hull.

SURE and Pepsi-Cola will also undertake a reforestation program in San Roque, Pangasinan, to promote environment entrepreneurship, have a sustainable supply of wood chips and increase forest cover.

In November last year, Gabby Gabinete, commercial director of Pepsi-Cola, said the company is planning to source all the power requirement for its bottling plants from co-generation facilities in five years.

Gabinete said when local power prices spiked following the jump in world oil prices in the 2008, the company’s cost of operations also shot up.

Renewables will shield Pepsi Cola from this risk, he said.

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