A front-page article in the St. Croix Avis newspaper on Thursday, November 29, 2012, had the headline "Energy Crop – Company growing Giant King Grass to produce renewable power on STX (St. Croix )". The article stated, "Tibbar Energy USVI LLC is one step closer to developing a 6 MW power-producing facility on St. Croix after successfully planting its first batch of Giant King Grass along the South Shore to be used as a renewable energy crop to create electricity."
VIASPACE Inc. "which holds exclusive rights to Giant King Grass, globally markets the crop as a low carbon, renewable replacement for coal to generate electricity and heat and as a nonfood feedstock for second-generation liquid biofuels to replace fossil fuels such as gasoline and diesel fuel." Previously it was announced that the Giant King Grass planting was part of a planned 1,000 acre Giant King Grass plantation. The Giant King Grass was sent by VIASPACE to St. Croix from its California growing site.
The Avis article continued, "As Tibbar Energy begins growing Giant King Grass, it will also meet with the Public Services Commission in December. Tibbar Energy filed an application with the PSC October 4 for certification as a qualified facility for small power generation".
Tibbar CEO Tania Tomyn and her brother Mark said "getting approval is a routine procedure. We expect to be approved before the end of the year."
"Karl Knight, director of the Virgin Islands Energy Office, told the Avis in October that Tibbar Energy’s project fits into the government’s clean energy roadmap, adding the project would satisfy part of the territory’s goal to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels by 60% by 2025." He said Tibbar Energy’s 6 MW facility could power 20% of the St. Croix 30 MW baseload, adding that this is a significant portion of the island’s power generation.
The St. Croix Avis article included a picture of Giant King Grass 57 days after planting in St. Croix. The growth is very vigorous and the plants are 40 inches tall.
The 20 year Tibbar project is slated to be underway in 2013, fully on-line by the first quarter 2014 and will generate over 20 full time jobs with a total projected economic benefit of $150 million (over the life of the project) to the community through its agricultural and power generation components.
VIASPACE CEO Dr. Carl Kukkonen commented, "Now that Giant King Grass is being targeted for real energy projects, we are achieving the kind of recognition that we believe the company deserves. A power plant (or bio refinery) co-located with a Giant King Grass plantation that provides the fuel or feedstock is a fully scalable unit that can be replicated many times throughout the world. VIASPACE is working on developing projects in more than six different countries."