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.
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