Foremost and Coca-Cola sign solar rooftop PPA with Solenergy Micronesia

Foremost Foods, Inc. and Coca-Cola Beverage Co. (Guam), Inc. signed a power purchase agreement with IP&E Holdings LLC, a retail and commercial supplier of petroleum products operating as the regional licensee for Shell Service Stations, on Feb. 13, 2023 at the Citadel Pacific headquarters in Tamuning. Under the agreement, IP&E’s affiliate Solenergy Micronesia will install a 117 kilowatt (kW) solar photovoltaic system at the Foremost and Coca-Cola headquarters in Barrigada Heights, replacing about 15% of the companies’ monthly power consumption with renewable energy. Pictured from left are Marcos W. Fong, CEO, Foremost Foods, Inc. and Coca-Cola Beverage Co. (Guam), Inc. and L. James Beighley, CEO, CPL Pacific, and chairman, Solenergy Micronesia.

Foremost Foods, Inc. (Foremost) and Coca-Cola Beverage Co. (Guam), Inc. (Coca-Cola), two of the largest non-alcoholic beverage companies on Guam and in Micronesia, signed a solar power purchase agreement with IP&E Holdings LLC.

Under the agreement, which was signed on Monday, Foremost and Coca-Cola will procure renewable energy produced by a 117 kW rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) system at the Citadel Pacific headquarters in Tamuning, according to a Feb. 15 press release.

IP&E is a local energy company that has been supplying the islands for over 30 years. Under the agreement, IP&E will underwrite the investment in the solar photovoltaic system, which will be installed, operated, and maintained by its affiliate Solenergy Micronesia, an energy systems engineering and solutions provider, the release states.

Foremost and Coca-Cola will purchase the power produced by the system at a rate determined by the beverage companies and IP&E for the duration of the contract term. At the end of the term, system ownership will be transferred to Foremost and CocaCola.

The grid-tied rooftop solar photovoltaic system featuring 216 solar modules and four units of three-phase inverters will generate approximately 191 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity annually. This PV system is expected to enable Coca-Cola and Foremost to replace between 12% and 15% of their monthly power consumption with renewable energy.

The Foremost and Coca-Cola solar PV system should offset the equivalent of 1,530 metric tons of carbon dioxide and 330 gasoline-powered vehicles driven for one year over the duration of the PPA.  

Marcos W. Fong, CEO of Foremost and Coca-Cola, said, “The solar rooftop construction forms part of the long-term goal of Coca-Cola and Foremost to reduce the carbon footprint throughout our operations. The initial purchase of renewable energy to power primarily our giant cold storage facility and secondarily the rest of the suite of offices in our corporate headquarters is only the beginning of our concerted effort to achieve energy efficiency and do our part to address climate change through green transition. We will evaluate the impact of our shift to sustainable energy on our operations. The results will inform our future plans to expand sourcing additional capacity for clean energy in the locales where we do business.”

Brian Bamba, managing director of local energy company IP&E Holdings, said, “Sustainability has become such a focus from the global scale to local initiatives. As the licensee for Shell Petroleum Products in this region for over 30 years, IP&E understands the journey to transition our energy from fossil fuels to sustainable solutions can only be achieved if businesses and consumers are able to change products and behavior together, in a coordinated effort that is both environmentally and financially sustainable. I applaud the bold leadership of Marcos Fong, and his team of professionals at Foremost and Coca Cola. IP&E is proud to partner with Foremost and Coca-Cola in this project, expressing mutual commitment to renewable energy solutions for our island and future.”

Christopher H. de Leon, general manager of Solenergy Micronesia touts the advantages afforded by a PPA with the energy systems company.

“As an island that is so close to the equator, solar energy will always be available in abundance in Guam. IP&E, through Solenergy Micronesia, is committed to designing and delivering customized energy solutions for commercial and industrial clients that will reduce their operational expenses and carbon footprint. The equipment, installation and maintenance services are packaged within a power purchase agreement that eliminates the initial capital investment that can be a deterrent to many because of the associated high costs and is structured so that both parties agree on a contract rate and term that conclude with the transfer of system ownership to the client. The structure of this agreement allows businesses to realize their sustainability goals while saving on energy expenses as soon as the system is installed.” The construction of the Foremost-Coca-Cola solar PV system, to begin soon after the signing of the agreement and permitting, is expected to come online in three to four months from siting to switch-on.

Power produced by the Foremost and Coca-Cola solar PV system will allow the companies to mitigate volatility in electricity rates and attain visibility on energy expenses over the short and long term, the press release states.


Yap seeks help for labor from the Philippines

Gov. Charles S. Chieng of Yap requested help from Federated States of Micronesia President David W. Panuelo to ask the government of the Philippines “to ease up on the stringent overseas labor requirements and allow their skilled workers and laborers to travel to Micronesia, especially Yap State, to assist on our big projects that are now being implemented.”

Chieng said these include the US. Federal Aviation Administration Airport Improvement Project to extend the Yap airport’s runway, and various projects to improve roads and bridges, funded by the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. “We also anticipate the Port and Maritime Improvement Project funded by the World Bank to be implemented as soon as the safeguards required by the World Bank are met.”

Chieng also called on Panuelo to discuss the need for foreign workers at the 21st Micronesian President’s Summit in Palikir, according to a Feb. 14 release from the Government of Yap.


In other news related to labor, Gov. Lourdes A. Leon Guerrero requested an Extension of the Guam NDAA H-2B exemption to 2029, and the establishment of a Guam Only temporary need within the H-2B program during Feb 9. testimony to the Interagency Group on Insular Affairs.


President’s summit sets aims

Hosted by President David W. Panuelo, summit attendees were President Surangel S. Whipps Jr. of Palau, President Taneti Maamauof Kiribati, President Russ Joseph Kun of Nauru, and Kitlang Kabua, Foreign Minister of the Marshall Islands. According to a release from the Office of the FSM President, the group “agreed to endorse the candidacy of Nauru to be the next Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum beginning in 2024; endorsed the location of the Pacific Islands Forum sub-regional office for the North Pacific to be in Kiribati; endorsed the location of the Office of the Pacific Ocean Commissioner in Palau; and expressed support for the candidacy of the Republic of the Marshall Islands for the post of Pacific Ocean Commissioner.”

The presidents agreed the permanent home of the secretariat for the summit will be in the FSM.

Rear Adm. Benjamin R. Nicholson, commander of Joint Region Marianas, provided a security briefing on the region, according to the release.

Jaap van Hierden.  Resident coordinator provided a briefing on the building design for the forthcoming One UN Micronesia House, which projects a total of 19 international agencies and more than 120 staff joining the offices in the near future. The proposed building site will be in the Botanical Gardens in Kolonia in Pohnpei. A delegation from Saudi Arabia also attended the summit, and received a request to fund the One UN house.


Power plant components delivery picks up speed

After a rocky start to deliveries earlier in February, the “self-propelled modular trailers” being used to deliver outsize loads to the site of Guam’s new power plant completed their second heavy haul transport of components for the new Ukudu Power Plant early on Feb. 14, in what a release on behalf of Doosan Ukudu Power and Doosan Enerbility said was “hours ahead of schedule.”


Racing federation to be evicted from Yigo property

Guam International Raceway, which does business as Guam Racing Federation, has indefinitely suspended activities, after the Chamorro Land Trust Commission board of directors issued on Feb. 1 a 30-day eviction notice. The federation must vacate the Yigo property by March 2.

The “indefinite suspension” of activities went into effect Feb. 1. The reason for the eviction was not detailed in the eviction notice or press release.

The eviction will affect more than two-dozen activities initially scheduled to take place this year, according to a press release issued by the federation.

“The last two and a half decades the Raceway has been home to the island’s fastest vehicles. With nowhere to go, we fear public streets will once again see large-scale illegal racing and we hope this does not happen,” the federation said.

Forms to petition the Chamorro Land Trust Commissions decision to evict the Guam Racing Federation have been launched. “We are seeking the support of the community in the fight to keep the track open,” the federation’s press release said.

The raceway has been the site of various “Smokin Wheels” race days, as well as Guam Auto Sports, and has an oval racetrack and an off-roading course. The federation had made various efforts to solidify its lease.


Bank to close on Saturday

The Bank of Guam announced that it will extend weekday hours by one hour to 4 p.m. at its branches. The bank will no longer open on Saturdays to allow its employees “work-life balance,” according to a Feb. 13 release.


Cleaning product recall

 The Department of Public Health and Social Services advised that according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, certain varieties of Colgate-Palmolive Fabuloso Multi-Purpose Cleaners are being recalled.  The recalled products can contain Pseudomonas species bacteria, including Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Pseudomonas fluorescens, which are environmental organisms found widely in soil and water.

According to the manufacturer, affected lots have code numbers that start with 2348US78 through 2365US78 and 3001US78 through 3023US78. The lot code can be found on the back of the bottle above the label, either directly above or toward the top of the bottle. No other Fabuloso products are affected by the recall. mbj