WALNUT, CA -- (Marketwired) -- 07/03/13 -- VIASPACE Inc. -- (OTCQB: VSPC) today announced that the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority (WAPA) Governing Board approved a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Tibbar Energy USVI, LLC for a biomass energy project on St. Croix. According to a joint press release from WAPA and Tibbar, the St. Croix based woman owned renewable energy company, will generate and sell to the utility seven (7) megawatts (MW) of base load power generated from Giant King Grass. Tibbar will average savings below WAPA's avoided cost which is the amount WAPA would spend to produce the same amount of energy using oil as it does today.
Tania Tomyn, Tibbar Energy Chief Executive Officer (CEO), said, "We look forward to supplying renewable energy at a lower cost to the people and businesses of St. Croix." Tibbar's process will consist of growing Giant King Grass, a non-invasive, USDA approved agricultural energy crop on 1,500 acres which will then be fed to the anaerobic digestion facility. The naturally occurring biological process of anaerobic digestion creates bio-gas which is then fed into biogas generators to generate the 7 MW of power that will be sold to the local utility.
Tomyn continued, "This Power Purchase Agreement approval is a major milestone for our company, and having Giant King Grass as a reliable, dedicated feedstock for our anaerobic digester is key to our project. We first met VIASPACE two years ago and decided to explore Giant King Grass and we found it was the right energy crop after being involved with the California nursery and testing. We signed a contract with them in 2012. We have been successfully growing Giant King Grass on St. Croix since October 2012. I want to thank VIASPACE for its technical support."
The project will be built and generating power by June 2015, as required by the PPA with WAPA, Tomyn said. Tibbar Energy is working with Layne Heavy Civil, Inc. based in Mission Woods, KS, one of North America's largest waste water treatment engineering, construction and procurement contractors. Layne has a strategic partnership with entec biogas gmbh of Austria which has built over 100 biogas plants worldwide. Layne specializes in project and schedule guaranteed projects. Most of the preliminary design has been completed over the last year by Layne and entec.
WAPA Executive Director, Hugo V. Hodge, Jr. said that the utility is excited to be part of a project using cutting edge technology, the first of its kind in the Caribbean region. "This project is very compatible with our energy road map, the energy production action plan issued by the Authority's Governing Board last year and Governor John P. DeJongh's mandate to reduce the use of fossil fuel in the territory 60% by 2025," Hodge said. "We are on our way to offering definite relief to our customers from the high rates primarily attributed to our 100% dependency on fossil fuel to make power and water," said Hodge.
Anaerobic digestion mimics the process in a cow's stomach to produce bio methane (a naturally occurring biological process) which is then used in an engine generator set to produce clean renewable and low carbon electricity. The byproduct of anaerobic digestion is organic fertilizer which will be put back on the Giant King Grass fields. Anaerobic digestion is an extremely mature technology. Many thousands of anaerobic digestion power plants are in operation in Europe providing electricity to 3 million homes in Germany alone.
VIASPACE Giant King Grass can be used in power plants to produce high-pressure steam that turns a turbine to produce 10 to 35 MW of electricity, or as a feedstock for anaerobic digestion power plants. The VIASPACE project in Nicaragua is a 12 MW plant using Giant King Grass.
VIASPACE CEO Dr. Carl Kukkonen stated, "Our congratulations go to Tibbar. Together we are pioneers in clean renewable energy in the Caribbean, and this project is a major step forward. You hear a lot about solar and wind energy and they have a significant role to play. But solar and wind are intermittent energy and can only play a marginal role because there is no way to store electricity on a large scale. Tibbar's project is base load power and integral to the islands grid."
Dr. Kukkonen continued, "VIASPACE has licensed the Giant King Grass to Tibbar and will receive license fee revenue for the duration of the 25 year Power Purchase Agreement. Because of its very high yield, Giant King Grass is a lower cost feedstock for Tibbar then other alternative feedstocks. Tibbar gets a reliable and well-characterized feedstock and saves money by paying the license fee to VIASPACE. The people of St. Croix get reliable clean electricity at a substantially lower cost than they are paying today. They also create jobs for their people and the money stays on St. Croix instead of going overseas to pay for oil. The planet gets lower carbon emissions. This is a unique win - win - win - win situation, and this is the model that VIASPACE is pursuing around the globe. We plan to replicate this model and build many Giant King Grass plantations integrated with power plants -- thus providing low cost, clean and renewable electricity for our customers and profits for our investors. We welcome inquiries from other countries and regions that can benefit from Giant King Grass based electricity today and from biofuels, biochemicals and biomaterials in the future."
VIASPACE Chairman, Dr. Kevin Schewe, commented, "We are extremely proud to be working with Tibbar Energy on St. Croix with this technologically-modern, carbon-neutral, green energy, 7MW anaerobic digestion power plant. VIASPACE Giant King Grass is the highest yielding, continuously renewable, biomass platform in the world and it is the perfect solution for the energy needs of tropical island nations or countries that depend on imported oil to create base power for local electricity. We at VIASPACE are very busy making the effort to show the world a new concept called: 'Growing Your Electricity'. We believe that, in the very near future, people from around the world will look at our projects in St. Croix and Nicaragua and recognize that they were the forerunners of a new wave of carbon neutral, continuously renewable, clean energy production that is second only to coal in cost effectiveness but carries the larger benefit of carbon neutrality. From a global benefit perspective, in lieu of using fossil fuels, every one of our future projects will have a positive impact on global warming. The timing is perfect for the adaptation and global expansion of our technology."
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. Giant King Grass is a proprietary, high yield, dedicated biomass clean energy crop that does not compete with or displace food production. For more information, please go to www.VIASPACE.com or contact Dr. Jan Vandersande, Director of Communications, at 800-517-8050 or IR@VIASPACE.com.
Safe Harbor Statement
Information in this news release includes forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements relate to future events or future performance and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause our actual results, levels of activity, performance or achievements to be materially different from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Such factors include, without limitation, risks outlined in our periodic filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2012, and other factors over which VIASPACE has little or no control.
Dr. Jan Vandersande
Director of Communications
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