Update on VIASPACE Giant King Grass Power Plant in Nicaragua
VIASPACE Inc. (OTCQB: VSPC) announced that CEO Dr. Carl Kukkonen traveled to Nicaragua and Panama to:
- meet with Nicaraguan business partners
- visit the plantation where Giant King Grass has been growing since 2012
- meet with the team conducting the formal power plant feasibility study
- interview potential EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) contractors that would build the power plant
- meet with potential financial investors in the power plant project Kukkonen met with AGRICORP CEO Mr. Amilcar Ibarra Rojas and other principals in Energia Reino Verde (English translation "Green Kingdom Energy"), the special purpose company that will own and operate the 12 MW biomass power plant to be co-located with a 2,100 acre Giant King Grass (GKG) plantation in Nicaragua. The Nicaraguan partners plan to provide substantial equity funding for the project, in addition to the project development funding they have already provided. They are taking the lead in obtaining all government approvals and permits for the project. Energia Reino Verde is a 50-50 partnership of VIASPACE and Nicaraguan partners. VIASPACE CEO Dr. Carl Kukkonen serves as president of Energia Reino Verde.
Giant King Grass has been growing on the 10,000 acre plantation on Lake Nicaragua since 2012. 6,000 acres are planted in rice and the remaining land is available for Giant King Grass. Irrigation from Lake Nicaragua and captured rainfall allows for year-round Giant King Grass production. At the plantation, Kukkonen met with the agronomy team. Giant King Grass is growing well in Nicaragua and individual GKG plants weigh even more than those grown in California demonstrating robust, high-yielding GKG growth in the Nicaraguan environment.
Kukkonen and the Nicaraguan partners met with PELICAN SA, the company conducting the formal feasibility study of the project. The feasibility study team includes experts on electric power and legal/environmental issues in Nicaragua, a power plant engineer from the US experienced in construction and procurement, an expert in connecting to the electrical grid, a sugarcane plantation expert, and the person who built and operated the first sugarcane bagasse power plant in Nicaragua. The feasibility study will be completed in September 2014. The purpose of the feasibility study is to confirm that the Energia Reino Verde business plan is both technically and economically feasible, and to recommend any improvements. The feasibility study is an independent third-party assessment that is required by financial institutions and investors.
Kukkonen met with four potential EPC contractors that are interested in building the power plant. An EPC contractor guarantees the price, schedule and performance of the power plant. Experience in the Central American region and experience with biomass power plants are important factors in selecting an EPC contractor. These discussions will continue and an EPC contractor will be selected soon after the feasibility study is completed in September.
Kukkonen also met with international development banks, commercial banks and equity investors to describe the project to them and understand their ability to provide financing. Renewable energy is of considerable interest to them, and the fact that Giant King Grass is a dedicated energy crop that provides a reliable fuel source is very important. Formal meetings with financing institutions will occur after the third-party feasibility study is completed.
VIASPACE Chairman, Dr. Kevin Schewe, commented, "We have launched the formal feasibility study for our 12MW Nicaragua biomass power plant partnership to be completed in the next 90 days. We have complete confidence in PELICAN SA and the impressive team of professionals that they have assembled to get this job done in a manner that can be used as a reproducible template for Nicaragua and the region. Our goal is not a single 12MW biomass power plant but multiple biomass power plants leading to a green energy electric industry that contributes to the region's economy with job creation, carbon-neutral electricity production and reduced dependence on fossil fuels. Our partners in this project are capable, well-connected and moving forward with confidence and finesse. VIASPACE and its shareholders are fortunate to share in this team effort and budding development in Central America."
About VIASPACE Inc.
VIASPACE grows renewable Giant King(TM )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 energy crop. Giant King Grass when it is cut frequently at 4 to 5 feet tall is also excellent animal feed. The USDA granted approval for planting Giant King Grass throughout the US and cooperates in exporting by performing the required inspections and issuing the phytosanitary certificate needed for import into foreign countries. Giant King Grass is being grown in California, Arizona, Hawaii, St. Croix Virgin Islands, Nicaragua, South Africa, China, Myanmar, Pakistan and Guyana.
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, 2013, and other factors over which VIASPACE has little or no control.