The CEO of Viaspace Inc, Dr. Carl Kukkonen recently made an invited presentation at the 15th Annual Caribbean Energy Conference held by Platts/McGraw-Hill Financial in San Juan, Puerto Rico January 29-30, 2015. The presentation, titled “Giant King® Grass Biomass Power Plants in Caribbean and Central America,” is available on the VIASPACE website www.VIASPACE.com.
The Platts Caribbean Energy Conference focused on enabling project development in the region where most of the electricity is generated from oil. Alternatives such as propane (LPG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) were a focus as well as renewable electricity from wind, solar, geothermal and biomass. The conference had 280 attendees from 29 countries. Dr. Kukkonen was the biomass speaker at the conference.
The current low price of oil was a major topic of discussion at the conference. Electricity prices in the Caribbean are very high– $0.25 – $0.40 per kilowatt hour–due to the high price of oil. Oil prices recently and rapidly fell by 50%. Some countries using oil-generated electricity are keeping the retail price of electricity high and making a large profit to pay off their debts. Speakers were unwilling to predict the future price of oil because the recent fall in oil prices took everyone by surprise, and no one would have predicted this large decline. It was reported that the World Bank was suggesting that countries plan on oil at $65 per barrel. Liquefied natural gas projects are most impacted by the low price of oil. Although the price of natural gas in the US is quite low, the cost of liquefying it and transporting it makes it more expensive than oil today when delivered to the Caribbean. Plus the infrastructure costs of liquefying and re-gasifying natural gas are quite high.
Dr. Kukkonen reported that biomass electricity from Giant King Grass is still much less expensive than electricity from diesel oil and even less expensive than electricity from heavy fuel oil. Plus the future price of the Giant King Grass fuel is well known because you are “growing your own electricity”, and these green electricity rates are not subject to the volatility of oil prices. He stated,
Giant King Grass electricity has zero carbon emissions. It is renewable and creates both construction jobs and ongoing employment in the biomass power plant and Giant King Grass plantation. The money is spent in your own country and does not have to go overseas to pay for oil. You will have reliable base electricity for industrial development, tourism and for your citizens. These are big advantages.
VIASPACE Chairman, Dr. Kevin Schewe, commented,
This is the second consecutive year that Dr. Kukkonen has been the invited biomass speaker at the prestigious Platts Caribbean Energy Conference and it recognizes VIASPACE’s growing contributions and presence in the region.
He presented an overview of using Giant King Grass to create electricity by both direct combustion and also by anaerobic digestion and then specifically discussed our Energia Reino Verde 12 MW direct combustion power plant project in Nicaragua and Tibbar Energy’s 7 MW anaerobic digestion power plant project using VIASPACE Giant King Grass in St. Croix, USVI. We emphasized that Giant King Grass generated electricity is carbon neutral, relatively inexpensive compared to other modalities, available as base load power 24/7, creates local farming and power plant jobs, keeps money in the local economy as opposed to exporting money for oil and is not subject to the known volatility of oil prices. We are on the leading edge of teaching the world how to ‘Grow Your Own Electricity’ using Giant King Grass as the world’s most productive, carbon-neutral biomass platform.