VIASPACE Inc. today issued an update regarding the progress of the Tibbar Energy, Giant King Grass fueled, 7-megawatt biogas power plant on the island of St. Croix. The power plant will supply clean and renewable electricity created from VIASPACE Giant King Grass (GKG) to the Virgin Island Water and Power Authority (WAPA) for at least the next 25 years.
As previously reported, Tibbar Energy was issued a Virgin Island Department on Planning and Natural Resources' Division of Coastal Zone Management (CMZ) final permit for construction on April 2, 2014. The public comment period for the Air Permit ended on June 23, 2014. That permit request has now been submitted to the Department on Planning and Natural Resources and should be finalized soon.
Additionally, on June 23, 2014, the Public Services Commission (PSC) held a public meeting on St. Thomas where Tibbar Energy and WAPA together asked for 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.
Finally, this week, Tibbar Energy was also approved by the US Virgin Islands Government Employee's Pension Fund (GERS) for a $15 million dollar loan. Tania Tomyn, Tibbar Energy CEO, said, "We are pleased to report that the project is moving through its final permitting stage and design. We expect our Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contractor to start construction this Fall. Tibbar will be using local contractors to build the project under Layne Christensen, our EPC. The project will have a significant impact on the USVI by providing the first base load renewable energy project that is independent of imported fossil fuels."
VIASPACE Chairman, Dr. Kevin Schewe, commented, "Our project with Tibbar Energy to use Giant King Grass as a dedicated, renewable, green energy crop for biogas electricity production on St. Croix is moving ahead as planned and this is very exciting for all parties involved, including VIASPACE and its shareholders. The $15 million dollar loan approved by the US Virgin Islands Government Employee's Pension Fund is particularly encouraging and speaks of the strength and commitment to the Caribbean's first carbon neutral, continuously renewable, green energy, biomass power plant. This 7-megawatt biomass power plant works to create base load, 24/7 electricity using dependable Giant King Grass feedstock while simultaneously creating local jobs and organic fertilizer. VIASPACE with Giant King Grass has the perfect green energy solution for any tropical island destination desiring freedom or less reliance on imported fossil fuels and we are busy proving this with Tibbar Energy on the island of St. Croix."