A section of the EABL plant in Ruaraka, Nairobi. [Courtesy]

East African Breweries Ltd (EABL) is investing Sh22 billion in renewable energy, which is expected to eliminate the use of heavy fuel oil in its production processes.

The investment, made through EABL’s parent firm Diageo, is part of a larger Sh23.5 billion pan-African investment across seven markets.

The capital investment across EABL’s brewing sites will deliver new solar energy, biomass power and water recovery processes.

The initiatives include an upfront capital investment programme of Sh6.5 billion in solar, water treatment and biomass equipment, followed by further long-term commitments for the ongoing maintenance and operations.

This will include the fuel supply for six new biomass boilers with locally sourced renewable fuel, with potential to create 900 jobs in the supply chain particularly with local farmers providing the biomass fuel.

The money will also go into putting in place new water recovery and purification facilities that may help save 1.2 billion cubic litres of water a year.

EABL will also have solar installations at six breweries across three countries, starting with Kenya. These solar panels will produce up to 10 per cent of each brewery’s electricity demand.

“Besides reducing our carbon emission by 95 per cent through the use of biomass, we will be leveraging solar to deliver a tenth of our power needs,” said Andrew Cowan, chief executive EABL Group.

In total, the commitment will cover six sites in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

In Kenya, EABL’s brand brewery in Kisumu already has solar power and water treatment facilities installed to ensure its operations have minimal impact from the start. 

“We believe this is one of the biggest single investments in addressing climate change issues across sub-Saharan Africa countries ...,” said Ivan Menezes, chief executive Diageo, adding that the investment is the largest environmental commitment in a decade.

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