VIASPACE Inc. (OTC: VSPC) today issued an update regarding the progress of the Tibbar Energy USVI, Giant King Grass fueled, 7-megawatt biogas power plant on the island of St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands. The power plant will provide the only base load renewable electricity in the USVI. The majority feedstock is from VIASPACE Giant King Grass (GKG). Tibbar will sell power for 25 years with a 5 year option to the Water and Power Authority (WAPA). Tania Tomyn, CEO of Tibbar, said, “Our project is a balance of public and private relationships. This is a long term commercial solution that gives the USVI fossil fuel independence and low cost power. Executive Director Hugo Hodge from WAPA and Karl Knight from the DOE in the USVI are finding real solutions such as LPG conversion and Solar to aid the energy crisis and Tibbar is proud to be part of that long term plan.”
As previously reported, Tibbar Energy was issued a Virgin Island Department on Planning and Natural Resources’ Division of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) final permit for construction on April 2, 2014. Those permits are now 90% complete and the final design and modification before construction starts is also being completed. Tomyn said, “We expect to start work the first of the year (2015) and that will create 150 jobs between the power plant construction and the farm development that will happen simultaneously. After construction, the plant will employ around 35-40 staff for 25 years.” Tibbar has already been operating farms on the island of St. Croix growing GKG for over 2 years now with great success.
Additionally, on June 23, 2014, the Public Services Commission (PSC) held a public meeting on St. Thomas where Tibbar Energy and WAPA together requested final approval of the agreements between WAPA and Tibbar including the 25 year (with 5 year option) Power Purchase Agreement executed last July and the Interconnection Agreement to the power grid. That approval was granted by the Commission.
Tibbar’s public and private relationships are important. For example, as part of the agreement the Department of Agriculture will receive 1,000 round bales per year for all three islands in the USVI for small livestock farmers. Tibbar will provide free fertilizer to small farmers on the island of St. Croix. Tibbar is working with VI Waste Management Authority on its existing long term agreement to recycle food waste and fats, oils and greases to divert waste from the landfill and be used in the digester to create energy. Tomyn said, “20% plus of all MSW is organics and working with Waste Management Authority to recycle these streams and divert them from landfills on St. Thomas and St. Croix is the right thing to do for both the USVI and Tibbar. This will have a major impact on landfill capacity over the next 25 years.”
VIASPACE Chairman, Dr. Kevin Schewe, commented, “The project with Tibbar Energy to use Giant King Grass as a dedicated, renewable, green energy crop for biogas electricity production on St. Croix is continuing to move ahead. This represents a model,Caribbean renewable energy project that creates significant local jobs, provides green, base load electricity and multiple related benefits to waste management, the island environment and local farmers. Tibbar’s project will be the Caribbean’s first carbon neutral base load, renewable power plant. We are very pleased with our ongoing working relationship and partnership with Tibbar Energy. We are in regular contact with Tibbar CEO Tania Tomyn and her team. They have become experts at cultivating and growing Giant King Grass on St. Croix. VIASPACE will receive license revenues for 25 years (with a 5 year option) as the Giant King Grass on St. Croix is harvested for renewable electricity.”
About VIASPACE Inc.
VIASPACE grows renewable Giant King™ Grass as a low-carbon fuel for clean electricity generation; for environmentally friendly energy pellets; and as a feedstock for bio-methane production and for green cellulosic biofuels, biochemicals and biomaterials. GiantKing Grass is a proprietary, high yield, dedicated biomass energy crop. Giant King Grass when it is cut frequently at 4 to 5 feet tall is also excellent animal feed. The USDA granted approval for planting Giant King Grass throughout the US and cooperates in exporting by performing the required inspections and issuing the phytosanitary certificate needed for import into foreign countries. Giant King Grass is being grown in California, Arizona, Hawaii, St. Croix Virgin Islands, Nicaragua, South Africa, China, Myanmar, Pakistan and Guyana